Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Visit the Prints and Drawings Room at Tate Britain

This is an explanation of what you can see at the Prints and Drawings room at Tate Britain and what you need to do if you want to visit. Plus a note about archival storage at the end.

What you can see at the Prints and Drawings Room 


Yesterday Coral Guest and I visited to view the Nourishment Portfolio (2002) of Etchings by Michael Landy. (That's the big white box on the table below)

The Prints and Drawings Room at Tate Britain

The Prints and Drawings Room is the place to see works on paper in the Tate Collection which are not on view in the Galleries. It's situated on the 2nd floor of the Clore Gallery - the extension built to house the Turner Bequest.

(Note: It's not very easy to access at the moment as the entrance is closed ( for works) and you have to work your way across from the main entrance at the first floor level - and then take the lift to the second floor.)

The Clore Gallery at Tate Britain - to the right of the main entrance on Millbank

The Prints and Drawings Collection at Tate Britain includes:
  • The Turner Bequest - around 30,000 artworks on paper, offering a unique insight into Turner’s methods and travels. The Bequest includes all Turner's sketchbooks (which you can also see online)
  • The OppĂ© Collection - Over 3,000 artworks on paper, including portraits, figurative drawings, and landscapes from the ‘golden age’ of British watercolour painting (1750–1850) - including watercolours by classic British watercolour painters such as Cozens., Towne, Cotman, Cox and Brabrazon and drawings by a variety of artists
  • Historic British art - British School art spanning the 16th to the late 19th centuries
  • Modern and contemporary prints - Work by several important British and international printmakers, representing media ranging from monotype to digital - including works by Henry Moore, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Dame Elisabeth Frink,  Peter Blake, Damien Hirst, the Chapman Brothers, Peter Doig and Patrick Caulfield
  • Modern and contemporary drawings - Modern and contemporary British and international drawings covering a wide range of genres, aesthetics and styles - including works by Bonnard, Spencer, Hockney, Bacon, Kokoshka.

Basically plug your favourite artist, art medium or topic into the search facility and see what comes up.

If it is a work on paper and it says "view by appointment" then you can see it in the Prints and Drawings Room.

How to visit and see what you want to see


Key Points

  • Anybody can access and view the artworks available to "view by appointment:
  • However you do need to make an appointment first. That's because the works have to be brought up to the room from Archive storage.  
  • You're best advised to decide first what to see - and whether it is available to view (see above)
  • Groups of up to 12 can be accommodated with advance notice. 
  • Your appointment will be for a specific time slot.
  • To make an appointment contact the Prints and Drawings Room via
When you visit for the first time you will be asked to register.
  • you will be asked to complete a registration form 
  • you need to produce one of the following proofs of identity: a passport/national identity card, a driving license or a student card. (I used my "Boris Oystercard" and it wasn't a problem as it has my photo on it)
Visiting times: The Prints and Drawings Room is open:
  • Monday to Friday 10.30–16.30 (but closed for lunch between 13:00 and 14:00)
  • on the first Saturday of the month.

and finally......


Label on the top of a cabinet of drawers in the Prints and Drawings Room

For those interested in museum quality archival storage - the Tate keep prints and drawings (in the room)
  • in cabinets with drawers made by Conservation by Design (and I note from the website that they also hold a Royal Warrant from the Queen as suppliers of conservation storage, equipment and display products.)
  • in archival boxes made by G. Ryder and Co. Ltd. - also a holder of the Royal Warrant for specialist box makers.

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