• 24 May 2017

In the run up to the launch of the online archive catalogue for Oliver Millar’s papers scheduled for the end of July we will be publishing a series of highlights from the collection. These have been selected by the Project Archivist currently working on this material and represent the three main sections of the archive.

Oliver Millar’s journals:

(L) Page from a journal entry detailing a visit to Kingston Lacy in July 1947 (ONM/1/2/2).

(R) Page of notes from Christie’s auction sales in 1987 (ONM/1/2/24).

The Oliver Millar journals span a sixty-year period and record his visits to auction houses, as well as public and private collections in the UK and abroad. They chart changes in ownership, theories of attribution, and curatorial trends.

Twenty-four journals contain Millar’s notes on public collections such as the National Gallery and Tate, private collections in houses and estates across the country, as well as sales at the major London auction houses. He visited some houses and collections multiple times over the years and made updates to entries, for example when pieces were cleaned, or later sold at auction.

Twenty-two journals focus on visits abroad including Europe, USA and Russia. An additional seven journals record his visits to view works by Anthony Van Dyck in museums, exhibitions, churches and private collections around Europe and the USA between 1968 and 2003.

The online catalogue will provide detailed descriptions of Millar’s journals allowing readers, for the first time, to search for a particular collection, location or date of visit (particularly useful for visits to auction houses). It will also give the page numbers for each relevant entry so that readers can identify at a glance, how detailed Millar’s notes are for each particular visit.

The indexes Millar created for the UK and Abroad journals have been digitised and are available to view here. Readers interested in Millar’s notes on a particular artist’s work can browse the digitised Index of Artist’s Names to pinpoint which journals they are featured in.

The Oliver Millar archive will join other fully catalogued archive collections held at the Paul Mellon Centre including, for example, the papers of Ellis Waterhouse, W.G. Constable, Brinsley Ford, Dennis Sharp, John Ingamells, and Howard Colvin. These papers and information on other research collections can be viewed here.