Arthur J. Stock, unpublished guide to the National Gallery Collection

Scope and Content

Typescript draft, with manuscript corrections and annotations, of ‘The Story of the Picture’ written by Arthur J. Stock, in which he explains the meaning and tells the history of selected principal pictures in the National Gallery’s collection. The typescript includes a title page, preface, an index, and a photograph of the picture intended for the frontispiece [inv NG8]. In addition it contains loose leaves entitled ‘Greta Garbo as tragic muse’ and ‘Ghosts at the National Gallery’. The main text is divided up into the various schools of painting, as follows, and each picture mentioned has its inventory number inserted in the margin alongside the relevant passage:

Pages 3-49C: British Artists

Pages 50-67: French School

Pages 68-83: Flemish School

Pages 84-93: German School

Pages 94-105: Dutch School

Pages 106-225: Venetian and Italian School

Pages 226-234: Spanish Artists

Administrative / Biographical History

Arthur J. Stock (1871-1953) was born in Havant, Hampshire. He served at the National Gallery where he was appointed Assistant Porter in April 1900. During his time at the Gallery he became Assistant Head Attendant and worked in this position until November 1935. In 1940 he moved to Guildford, Surrey.

Stock had intended his book to be published and sold by the National Gallery. In August 1930, he sent it to Charles Collins Baker, Keeper at the National Gallery, 1914-1932, in the hope that it would be recommended to the Board of Trustees; however, correspondence between Collins Baker and Lord Crawford suggests that they thought it unlikely that the book would be given permission by the Director or Trustees to be sold at the National Gallery [ref. NG26/22/4, letters dated Aug-Sep 1930].


The typescript is a single volume.

Access Information


Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Leila Ratcliff, Jan 2020.

Appraisal Information

The typescript has been selected for permanent preservation.

Custodial History

The typescript was transferred to the National Gallery Archive at an unknown date.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

NG26/22/4 Trustees' correspondence: Lord Crawford and Balcarres (27th Earl), 16 Jan 1929-15 Dec 1930