The ledgers are a complete record of financial transactions handled by Thos. Agnew & Sons Ltd, and holds the account information that is needed to prepare financial statements, and includes accounts for assets, liabilities, owners' equity, revenues and expenses. The accounts recorded within these volumes are indexed by client name (the index can usually be found at the beginning or end of each volume). As a general rule of thumb, if a client had significant business with firm in a specific branch (London, Manchester, Liverpool, Paris, Berlin or New York) it is advisable to check the ledgers of that name first. Clients who were classed as Trade (variously including rival art dealerships, restorers, photographers, framers, and private dealers and/or partners) they will be found in Trade (F) Ledgers.
For researchers unfamiliar with financial records: a general ledger is typically used by businesses that employ the double-entry bookkeeping method - where each financial transaction is posted twice, as both a debit and a credit, and where each account has two columns. Because a debit in one account is offset by a credit in a different account, the sum of all debits will be equal to the sum of all credits. Entries sometimes have small red crosses or circles next the amount; these were used as an aid to identify the credits and debits which had to be balanced. The ledgers contain the following information for debits (on the left hand side of each page) and credits (right hand side):
- Description (e.g. Picture; Cash)
- Day Book volume and page number (or equivalent volume, e.g. prefixes CB - Cash Book - and CP, IL, K, L, TE, P, Par PL; these volumes do not appear to have been retained by the archive). For more information about Day Books and the links between the two series of records refer to NGA27/13.
Ledgers are arranged into the following sub-series (for more information on any of these sub-series please refer to the associated reference):
NGA27/14/1: Manchester Ledgers, 1898-1932
NGA27/14/2: London Ledgers, 1873-1972
NGA27/14/3: Liverpool Ledgers, c1858-1909
NGA27/14/4: Paris Ledger, 1909-1926
NGA27/14/5: Berlin Ledger, 1909-1912
NGA27/14/6: New York Ledger, 1926-1931
NGA27/14/7: Trade (F) Ledgers, 1864-1974
NGA27/14/8: S Ledgers, 1898-1929
NGA27/14/9: Morland Agnew Ledgers and Cash Book, 1889-1936
NGA27/14/10: Bank Ledgers, 1948-1981
NGA27/14/11: Annual Stock Taking Ledgers, 1847-1939
NGA27/14/12: Miscellaneous Ledgers and Indexes, 1865-1982
For more general information about the Agnew's archive as a whole, refer to the description at NGA27.