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Trail

Highlights from the print collection

A woodcut showing the Emperor Maximilian in a triumphal chariot.<br /><br />This large woodcut, over 2 metres in length, was originally planned as part of a huge printed frieze. The work, undertaken by a team of designers and woodblock cutters, was to sho
The Triumphal Cart of the Emperor Maximilian HM The Queen Elizabeth II

This trail brings together 30 of the finest prints from the Royal Collection, drawn from over 100,000 prints acquired by monarchs over three and a half centuries.  The fine art prints, portraits, topographical prints and maps reveal the extraordinary variety of prints in the Collection and explore the different techniques used to create them.

A woodcut showing the Emperor Maximilian in a triumphal chariot.<br /><br />This large woodcut, over 2 metres in length, was originally planned as part of a huge printed frieze. The work, undertaken by a team of designers and woodblock cutters, was to sho

The Triumphal Cart of the Emperor Maximilian HM The Queen Elizabeth II

Among the highlights of the selection is a 2.3-metre-long woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, Triumphal Cart of the Emperor Maximilian, 1523. Originally planned as part of a huge printed frieze, it shows a procession celebrating the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I. The greatest printmaker of the 16th century, Dürer was also a clever entrepreneur and achieved fame through the dissemination of his woodcuts and engravings in Europe and beyond.

The largest group of prints in the Royal Collection are the 20,000 'Engraved Royal Portraits', which cover every Royal House of Europe and are arranged by nationality, dynasty and sitter in 66 volumes and 30 portfolios. It includes many rare prints, such as an imposing mezzotint portrait of Charles II, c.1667, and unique working proofs, where the engraver has tried out his half-finished plate, such as Crispijn de Passe's portrait of Elizabeth I.

The Royal Collection contains almost 1,000 prints by royal artists, from the pioneering mezzotints of Prince Rupert of the Rhine in the 17th century, to the many etchings and lithographs produced by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, keen amateur printmakers, two centuries later. They spent many evenings in the Print Room at Windsor, systematically rearranging the print collection by firelight. A pair of etchings by the royal couple of peasant figures, dated 13 January 1842, were clearly inspired by the sketches of Sir Edwin Landseer, who undertook many royal commissions.

George III was an avid collector of prints, in particular military maps. The 'King's Military' collection, comprising 4,000 printed and manuscript maps, records campaigns, sieges and fortifications across the world. An engraving of the battle of Yorktown of 1781 shows the final conflict of the American Revolutionary War and is George III's own impression of the print that marks the birth of a nation.

Old Master prints

A small number of Old Master printmakers have been collected over the years

Engraved Royal Portraits

A collection of engraved portraits of European royalty

The Print Collection of George IV

George IV amassed prints throughout his life

George III's Military Maps

A unique collection of 4,000 maps and plans

The Prince Consort's Raphael Collection

An indispensable resource for the study of Raphael's work

The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo

Cassiano dal Pozzo attempted to document the world in visual form in 17th-century Rome

Topography

George IV and Queen Victoria formed a collection of prints to replace that given by George III to the British Museum

Royal Artists

There are over 7,500 drawings, watercolours and prints by royal artists in the Royal Collection