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The Prints and Drawings Study Room

The Prints and Drawings Study Room houses our fine collection of prints, drawings and watercolours, comprising more than 1,000 works and six centuries of the draughtsman’s and printmaker’s arts.

The study room is open to researchers and the general public by appointment only.

Due to essential building improvement works, the Prints and Drawings Study Room is currently closed to the public until summer 2024.

For research enquires please email: collections@barber.org.uk

Images inside the coin and print study room at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham.

We have outstanding drawings in our collection by varied artists such as Tess Jaray, Fra Bartolommeo, Rembrandt van Rijn, JMW Turner, Edgar Degas and Gwen John.

Prints include exceptional works by Albrecht Dürer, Francisco Goya, Italian and Flemish Renaissance masters and 19th-century and 20th-century artists from Pablo Picasso and Elizabeth Frink to Käthe Kollwitz.

Many of our prints and drawings can be viewed on our website, or on the University's Online Collections. We are still in the process of digitising our full collection of works on paper, so please bear with us.

A rotating selection of works on paper are displayed in our dedicated Print Bays (located in the Green and Beige galleries) – typically there are six print displays a year.

Explore our prints and drawings online:

Jan Lievens (1607-1674)

Jacques Gaultier, lutenist Etching Paper 265 x 220 mm; mount 557 x 405 mm   Jacques Gaultier (about 1600-1652) was a successful lute-player and composer at the court of Charles I of England (reigned 1625-49). Gaultier’s lute has a split peg-box to accommodate additional strings, increasing the range of the instrument. The lute was the … Read more

Hieronymus Cock (around 1510-1570)

Mercury and Argus The Netherlands, around 1558 Etching 227 x 324 mm In this print, the narrative of Mercury and Argus (from Ovid’s Metamorphoses) is dwarfed by the fantastic landscape. In keeping with Flemish tradition, Cock depicts all elements of nature: woodland, mountain ranges, river, fields and animals. This print features Mercury attempting to lull the … Read more

Paul Cézanne (1839 – 1906)

Guilaumin with the hanged man  France, 1873 Etching Plate: 155 x 115 mm; paper 245 x 185 mm; mount 555 x 405 mm Purchased 1959 (No. 59.2) ShareTweetSharePin

Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-1664)

God the Father regarding the Infant Christ  Rome, 1645-7 Etching Plate: 260 x 200 mm, mount: 557 x 406 mm Castiglione represents the Holy Family as natural human figures. A plump infant Christ sleeps peacefully, watched by the Virgin Mary and an unusually tangible and human God. Catistiglione was greatly influenced by Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro etchings … Read more

Hendrik Goudt (1585-1630), after Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610)

The Mocking of Ceres Rome, 1610 Etching with engraving 319 x 247 mm An old woman protects a boy as he mocks Ceres, the goddess of nature, in this episode from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Ceres pauses to drink while searching for her daughter who has been abducted by Pluto, god of the underworld. The juxtaposition of … Read more

Tess Jaray (b.1937)

Untitled: Study towards ‘Green Sanctuary’ London, 1964 Graphite on paper 65 x 149 mm Due to licencing rules, the Barber is currently unable to reproduce images of this work for our website. If you wish to view this work, you can make an appointment to see it in the Prints and Drawings Study Room. ‘I wanted … Read more

Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)

A Wild Horse  France, 1828 Lithograph on chine collé The energy and beauty of an untamed horse is captured perfectly by Delacroix. The versatile technique of lithography accurately describes the texture of the horse’s coat and the momentary nature of this scene shown through the animal’s frightened response to a gust of wind. It dates … Read more

Jean Morin (c. 1590-1650)

Omer Talon  Paris, early 1650s Engraving Mount: 55.7 x 40.5 cm  This portrait is based on Philippe de Champaigne’s full-length painting of Omer Talon (1595-1652) produced in 1649. Champaigne was a founder of the French Academy in the mid 17th century and is best known for his portraits of royalty and important political figures. Talon’s … Read more

Abel Stimmer (1542-after 1606)

Design for a Glass Painting Switzerland, late 16th century Pen and grey wash heightened with white on greenish prepared paper 334 x 220 mm Presumably husband and wife, these figures hold objects that suggest their marital roles, the woman holding a cup traditionally associated with fertility. Beside her is an image of an eagle sitting … Read more

Sir William Orpen (1878-1931)

A Nude Girl Seated on a Bed London, 1899 Pen and ink, brown wash on paper 27.6 x 21.4 cm This is one of a number of studies that Orpen made of Emily Scobel, a model at the Slade School of Art where he was studying at this date. The drawings culminated in an oil … Read more

Stefano della Bella (1610-1664)

Procession of the Feast of Corpus Christi outside the Palais Royal, Paris, 12 June 1648 Île-de-France, Paris, 1648 336 x 478 mm Crowds descend upon the Palais Royal for the Feast of Corpus Christi. The elaborately decorated pavilion and altar are flanked by huge tapestries of the apostles. The dowager Queen Anne and nine-year-old Louis … Read more

Pietro Berretini da Cortona (1596-1669)

A Wooded River Landscape Rome, about 1650 Black chalk, brush and grey ink, grey wash 283 x 425 mm Cortona was, along with Bernini, a presiding genius of the Roman Baroque. Excelling as a painter, architect and decorator, he also executed a number of landscape drawings, often as pure diversions. One of the finest examples, … Read more

John Sloan (1871-1951)

Roofs, Summer Night (New York City Life Series) American, 1906 Etching Plate: 13.3 x 17.6 cm; sheet: 25.2 x 32.7 cm  Gifted by Delaware Art Museum and the Helen Farr Sloan Estate in 2017 (No. 2017.1/9) ShareTweetSharePin

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

The Palazzo della Sacra Consulta 1752 Etching with engraving 405 x 610 mm This print shows the façade of a palace in central Rome designed by Ferdinando Fuga in 1732 for Pope Clement XII, which housed the papal tribunal, termed the Consulta. The building is now used as the Supreme Court of Italy. Piranesi was … Read more

Max Beckmann (1884-1950)

Resurrection  Frankfurt, about 1918 Drypoint on laid handmade paper 37.3 x 44.6 cm; mount: 72.5 x 59 cm  This print repeats, in reverse, the composition of a large mural (Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart) that Beckmann began in 1916 but never completed. Bodies cover the ground in various states of suffering and death, many distorted, some horribly mutilated, … Read more

Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)

The Cypress Grove Redhill, Surrey, about 1880, completed 1883 Etching 13 x 19 cm    Set amid a mountainous nocturnal landscape, a group of nymphs mourn for the shepherd Daphnis who has been blinded by the nymph Nomia for being unfaithful. Loosely based on Virgil’s Eclogues (42-39 B.C.), this work may have been inspired by … Read more

Florentine (about 1500)

St Jerome in the wilderness Florence, about 1500 Engraving Plate: 222 x 282 mm  Mount: 405 x 557 mm The scholar St Jerome retired to the Syrian Desert to live in seclusion as a hermit. He is depicted in a traditional manner; dishevelled and semi-naked, with a rock for beating his breast. His customary attributes, … Read more

Salvatore Castiglione (1620-1676)

The Raising of Lazarus Italy, 1645 Etching 109 x 212 mm Purchased 1967 (No. 67.4) ShareTweetSharePin

Claude Lorrain (1604/5-1682)

Sunrise Rome, 1634 Etching Paper: 12.9 x 20 cm; mount: 40.5 x 56 cm This marine scene bustles with activity as figures gesticulate, exchange glances and huddle in groups. The sun, which faintly be seen on the horizon, floods the picture with light and blurs the distant mountains. Opposite the triumphal Arch of Titus on … Read more

William Walcot (1874-1943)

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts 1938 Watercolour and bodycolour 730 x 1355 mm This work was commissioned by the Henry Barber Trust in September 1938 to mark the completion of the building. Commissioned by the Henry Barber Trust, 1938 (No.38.15) ShareTweetSharePin

Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) after Diego Velázquez

The Dwarf El Primo Madrid, 1778 Etching 390 x 280 mm El Primo, named Diego de Acedo, was a dwarf in the service of the Spanish Royal Court during the 17th century. The books and documents around him indicate his intellectual occupation working in the Royal Printing office, but their size also highlights his dwarfism. … Read more

Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/9-1682)

The cottage on the hill Amsterdam, about 1660 Etching Plate: 195 x 281 mm Frame: 584 x 737 mm A small wooden house perches atop a steep hill, engulfed by the dense surrounding forest. The limbs of the trees twist and reach into the distance, entwined together to create a sense of movement and life. … Read more

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)

A Hilly Landscape London, about 1775-80 Black chalk and stump and white chalk on blue paper 270 x 335 mm Gainsborough rarely made drawings as preparation for a painting and at this date he did not work from nature. Instead, landscape drawings such as this were made as private studio exercises in which he manipulated … Read more

Follower of Rembrandt, Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669), possibly Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627-1678)

Study of a Nude Youth Amsterdam, about 1646 Pen and ink with brown wash  274 x 160 mm Rembrandt and his pupils are known to have made life drawings of naked male models in about 1646. The model here was possibly Rembrandt’s young student Willem Drost. He appears in a number of studio drawings by … Read more

Hans Thoma (1839-1924)

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt Frankfurt, 1893-97 Lithograph  20.2 x 23.2 cm  Thoma sets this scene of the Holy Family resting within a realistic representation of rural life. The religious imagery is understated. Instead of the divine intervention of an angel, a female figure brings food to the family. The solitary poses of … Read more

Jan (Johan) Sadeler I, after Paul Bril (about 1554-1626)

Landscape with Rabbit Hunt Rome, after 1595 Etching and engraving 270 x 343 mm Multiple groups of hunters and dogs bound through the landscape in pursuit of birds and beasts. The rickety fences, meandering paths and natural disarray of the forest contrast with the neat town in the background. Sadeler uses strong contrast in tone … Read more

KÄTHE KOLLWITZ (1867-1945)

The Young Couple (Junges Paar) Berlin, 1904 Etching and Aquatint 290 x 310 mm plate size Printed by Otto Felsing, Berlin; published by Emil Richter. Proof, with margins, signed by the artist. Purchased 2018 (Inv. No. 2018.1) ShareTweetSharePin

Adolph von Menzel (1815-1905)

A Study for ‘Contribution’ Germany, about 1884 Carpenter’s pencil with stumping 22.9 x 15.2 cm Menzel was the leading master of later nineteenth-century German art. In its deftness and subtlety of line and modelling, it compares with the life drawings of Degas, also represented in the Barber collection. The drawing is a study for the … Read more

Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)

The Vine London, 1852 Etching Plate: 30.5 x 21.7 cm; paper: 41.5 x 29.5 cm; mount: 55.5 x 40.4 cm  Bacchus, the Roman god of agriculture and wine, leaps from his chariot in a burst of bright light to meet his followers. Vines creep across the ground and entwine themselves around trees, while plump cherubs … Read more

GWENDOLEN MARY JOHN (1876-1939)

A Nun Seated at a Table Paris, the 1910s Black chalk on paper 324 X 235 MM This drawing of an unknown nun is closely related to the series of portraits of Mère Poussepin Gwen John executed from 1913, one of which is shown in the Blue Gallery. The artist worked from a prayer card … Read more

The Prints and Drawing Study Room was created with the financial support of the DCMS/Wolfson Museums Improvement Fund.