The files in this series contain material on individual artists, collected and compiled by Waterhouse throughout his career. They are primarily a visual resource, containing a large number of black and white photographs and images, mostly annotated by Waterhouse. They also include correspondence; published articles; research notes and a huge variety of associated material.
There are a large volume of files concerning Gainsborough (35 files in total) and Reynolds (40 files in total) in particular. These files contain material related to his publications: 'Sir Joshua Reynolds' (1941) and 'Gainsborough' (1958).
It is evident that the files and the images in this series are no longer organised according to the original order imposed by Waterhouse. When managed as part of the Centre's photographic archive they were a 'live' resource and material was regularly re-arranged to reflect new scholarship in the field. For example, in accordance with Photographic Archive practice, images in the Reynolds section were re-arranged in catalogue order following the publication of 'Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings' by David Mannings.
In 2010 the collection was re-designated as an archive and since this date - in an attempt to preserve what remained of Waterhouse's order - no further re-organisation of files or images has taken place. For example, it was noted during the cataloguing process that annotations Waterhouse made on individual images are sometimes at odds with the file title. No attempt was made to re-file such material.
Files devoted to individual artists contain, as a minimum, 6 images of works by that artist and sometimes up to c100. The total number of images is listed in the 'extent' field. The file description does not include any additional information about individual images, but each item of non-image material (ie. correspondence, journal articles etc.) is listed in detail.
Miscellaneous files (ie. Miscellaneous A, Acraman-Astley), include images of works by artists, where Waterhouse collected 5 images or less by that artist. The description includes a list of artists represented in the file.