Two million prints online for all - British Library collection

28 September 2022
Two million prints online for all at the British Library
For 30 years, a small team has been individually cataloguing one of the world's greatest collections of works on paper - and the results of this work are now available for everyone to explore freely.

In April 2021, the last of the two million prints was described and measured, and its production date and the names of the printmakers, designers and publishers added to the database.

Now, for the first time, the British Museum's Department of Prints and Drawings’ collection of 500,000 records is available on the British Museum's Collection online. You can search by artist or to browse the collection, simply search for 'print' or 'drawing' and filter your search from there.

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Collection online allows access to almost four and a half million objects in more than two million records. High definition images can be enlarged and examined in detail.

If you're using the collection for family history or local history purposes, a few search ideas include:

  • An ancestor's name, particularly if it is unusual. For example, I have Delander ancestors, originally from France, a search brought up details of several watches made by Nathaniel Delander, plus an original bill of sale
  • A town or village of interest
  • Landmarks such as a church, workhouse, town hall, which might have been portrayed on canvas over the centuries
  • You can also browse by topic in the themes section

QUICK LINK: Explore your family's story in our Find Your Scottish Ancestors section

(Report courtesy The British Library)

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