Prints and Drawings

Our collection of topographical and archaeological drawings represents a unique resource in its field.

In its early years, the Society acted as a centre for gathering information on archaeological discoveries and historical objects. Many items were drawn for its meetings and publications in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the Society commissioned draughtsmen who were especially noted for their skills in accurate recording. As a result, the Library holds the most important national collection of historic drawings of portable antiquities from Britain and Europe.

Some drawings are of objects first shown to members of the Society and now in national museums. Others show outstanding items that are now missing, such as the ring presented by Mary, Queen of Scots, and the unique Anglo-Saxon silver hanging bowl from the River Witham. In each case the original objects are now lost and these drawings constitute our only record.

The Library also has one of the largest collections of topographical and architectural drawings in the country, consisting of around 20,000 drawings as well as a substantial number of prints.

A selection of prints and drawings are included in the Online catalogue of drawings and museum objects.


Prints and Drawings >

Church Plans Online

The Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS) was founded in 1818 to provide funds for the building and improvement of Anglican churches in England and Wales. The bulk of the ICBS archive is deposited in Lambeth Palace Library but a selection of 700 plans and drawings were given to the Society of Antiquaries in 1889 by the Secretary of the ICBS. These 700 plans and drawings have been digitised by Lambeth Palace Library and are available from the Church Plans Online database.