Collection of Engravings of Portraits of Painters

Scope and Content

The two volumes contain mounted engravings and etchings of portraits of painters, with manuscript notes on the subjects by an unknown author. Volume one has 76 portraits of Northern European Renaissance artists, with brief biographies for Jan Van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, Lucas Van Leyden and Quentin Massys. Many of the engravings (signed with the monogram "Hh" in ligature) are by the Dutch engraver Hendrik Hondius the Elder (1573-1650), with others by Wenceslaus Hollar.

Volume two has 54 portraits of Italian artists of the Renaissance, with brief biographies of six of the artists, including Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Titian and Raphael, and notes on twelve other painters. The engravings are by several hands, including Giacomo Piccini.

Access Information

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, from John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer (1835-1910), in July 1892.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan and Jo Humpleby, project archivists.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 60).

Custodial History

The manuscript was formerly part of the Spencer Library at Althorp, Northamptonshire, which was largely assembled by George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758-1834); then by descent to John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer (1835-1910).