The files contain, in the first instance, information about how the portraits were acquired by the Gallery. They may include, depending on the manner in which the work was acquired (Ie. by gift, purchase, commission, or bequest) any of the following standard documentation: offer from the donor; acceptance by the Gallery; good title; provenance; commissions contract; copy of will; copy or probate; copyright agreement. They may also include details of cost or funding, including invoice; receipt and details of any grant aid, private or public donations received.
They may also include information about conservation, including condition reports; scientific & technical analysis; receipts for work done. They may also include records concerning how the works were displayed; stored; loaned or exhibited. They may also include records relating to the framing of works (including, in some instances, the conservation of frames). They may further contain information relating to research, which may pre-date the time the portraits were acquired by the Gallery.
The records detailed above may include both original and published material of the following types: correspondence with internal and external colleagues; correspondence with members of the public, academics and other groups; research notes; caption text; reports; press releases and other promotional material; cuttings from articles in magazines, journals or newspapers.
The Registered Packets may also include other types of record associated with the portraits such as: x-rays; images; labels and other items removed from the back of works; diaries and notes maintained by artists & sitters; video and audio recordings etc. In particular, many files include conservation slides. A significant number have been labelled with coloured stickers. These were intended to denote different types of view (ie. bottom left), however they were used inconsistently and the system was abandoned c2000.