The volumes include information about both portraits acquired by the Gallery and also portraits declined.
A form was completed for each portrait inspected at Trustee meetings. Each form recorded the following information:
-details of Trustee meeting at which the portrait was discussed
-name of sitter
-name of artist
-description of the head (features, eyes, hair, complexion, position)
-description of figure (size, position, direction)
-position of limbs (right hand, left hand, feet & legs)
-description of costume (general, detailed, ornaments & insignia)
-general accessories (background, direction of light, material on which executed, mode of execution, frame, if noteworthy)
-dimensions of portrait
-locality (where portrait was viewed)
-sketch or photograph of portrait
-previous history of portrait
-general remarks on the condition of portrait
Between 1897-1910 the forms were completed in a comprehensive fashion. From 1910 onwards the level of detail varies considerably, with only cursory information being recorded for some portraits. From around this date also, the forms were supplemented by other material - for example letters and tracings - which were pasted into the volumes. From 1913 onwards, information about the Trustee Meeting at which portraits were discussed is not systematically recorded.
All of the volumes have been indexed by sitter. Index cards have been filed into the main portrait index accessible in the Public Study Room.
In addition, a small number of individual files relating to collections surveyed rather than to portraits submitted to Trustees' meetings have been catalogued as part of this sequence, alongside volumes of a similar date. Where no Trustees' meetings are referenced, the collection name has been given.