• 14 June 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.

(L) Image of a painting by de Critz (ONM/2/22).

(R) Image of a painting by Michael Dahl (ONM/2/28).

Oliver Millar’s archive includes 328 artist research files. These were compiled by Millar over a fifty year period (1950s-2000s) and include the material he gathered together from a variety of sources on specific artists. They are primarily a visual resource, containing a large number of black and white photographs, but they also include correspondence with owners, auction houses, academics, museums and galleries worldwide, as well as research notes and exhibition pamphlets.

Reflecting Millar’s particular specialisms, there are a large volume of files concerning Van Dyck (89 files) and Lely (38 files). There are also extensive files for artists such as Dahl (8), Dobson (7), Kneller (12) and Rubens (15). Some files contain material relating to multiple artists. They have been arranged alphabetically by artist name. An additional 57 research files concern subjects such as 'Jacobean: female full length, serious mood' and 'Minor Flemish XVIIth century'.

The online catalogue will provide detailed descriptions of these files. Readers will be able to search by artist name and identify all the files of relevance to their research. They will also be able to determine how comprehensive each file is: a general summary of the contents is given (eg. 78 images; 5 letters; 1 exhibition catalogue etc.), as well as discover specific information about correspondence (e.g. it will be possible to search by the name or organisation of a correspondent).

In addition, 200 items (including photographs, correspondence and research notes) from the archive have been selected for digitisation. These images will be attached to the file descriptions and made available online. The aim is to provide a flavour of the breadth of material and to feature key relationships Millar developed with individuals and organisations through his correspondence.

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.

Further reading:
Cataloguing the Oliver Millar Archive: Journals