Department of Western Art

About the department

The Department holds European paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, applied arts, and musical instruments from the Middle Ages to the present day. Numerous individual specialist collections have been given or bequeathed over the years, making these holdings a 'collection of collections'.


Paolo di Dono, called Uccello (1397-1475). WA1850.31; A79.
Paolo di Dono, called Uccello,
Hunt in the Forest, WA1850.31; A79.

Well-known masterpieces such as Paolo Uccello's Hunt in the Forest and Claude Lorrain's Ascanius shooting the Stag of Sylvia are on view in the galleries. There are important displays of Renaissance Italian art, Flemish and Dutch 17th-century paintings (including the Daisy Linda Ward Collection of still-life paintings), the Pre-Raphaelites (mainly from the Combe Bequest of 1895) and the work of Camille Pissarro and his family (thanks to several gifts from the Pissarro family).

The entire collection of Western Art paintings is online here.

Sculpture and Applied Arts

Antonio Canova, Ideal Head, WA1996.395
Antonio Canova, Ideal Head,

The wide-ranging European sculpture collection includes the Ideal Head by Antonio Canova. Our world-class collections of Renaissance bronzes, maiolica, and rings were formed by C D E Fortnum (1820-1899). Other special displays include English silver from the Farrer, Carter and Conway collections, the Marshall Collection of Worcester porcelain, the Warren Collection of English delftware, and the Hill Collection of stringed instruments. Also on view are portrait miniatures, 17th-century textiles, European porcelain and glass.

The entire collection of Finger Rings is online here.

Drawings and Prints

Paul Cezanne, Still-life of Peaches and Figs, WA1980.82
Paul Cézanne, Still-life of Peaches and Figs,

The foundations of the graphic art collections are the bequest of Francis Douce in 1834 and the superlative drawings by Michelangelo and Raphael from the collection of Sir Thomas Lawrence, acquired by public subscription in 1842. Important groups of prints and drawings have been added over the years, including works by Rembrandt, Guercino, Watteau and CÚzanne - as well as English drawings and watercolours of fine quality by J M W Turner, Samuel Palmer, John Ruskin, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, and Max Beerbohm. Visitors can view prints and drawings in the Print Room.

The Western Art collection of Italian, French, French Ornament and Russian drawings is online here.