The papers consist of Eastlake's travel notebooks, 1852-1864, in addition to a group of 24 letters from Eastlake to a range of correspondents, 1841-1864:
NG22/1-36 Eastlake notebooks:
Comprise notes made by Eastlake during his annual trips to the continent between 1852 and 1865. Notes for 1852 and 1854 were made by Eastlake travelling in a private capacity, and notes thereafter were made during official trips as Director of the National Gallery.
When Eastlake was appointed as Director of the National Gallery in 1855, one of his duties, as recommended by the Report of the 1853 Select Committee, was to travel throughout Europe to acquire works for the Gallery's Collection. He toured the continent every year between his appointment in 1855 and death in 1864. The tours generally lasted 3 months, from August to September, and the majority of his travel was in Italy.
Eastlake also made formal reports to the Trustees drawing on information in his travel dairies, and corresponded from abroad with the Keeper, Ralph Wornum.
The notes mostly relate to pictures viewed by Eastlake at dealers' premises, and in public and private collections. They usually give a brief description of the subject of the picture and its condition, and in some cases Eastlake's opinion on its attribution. Eastlake made more lengthy notes for some pictures, analysing the artist's technique. There are also occasional sketches in addition to transcriptions of inscriptions and artists' monograms. Some notebooks also contain general notes about the regions visited, and the influence of their landscape on native artists.
NG22/37-60 Miscellaneous correspondence:
Comprises letters to a number of correspondents, discussing art related matters.