The collection of prints was started through a donation from the aristocrat Jean Theodore Royer, who bequeathed some 20,000 prints to the university in 1815. The collection has expanded through further donations and some major purchases. The nucleus consists of Dutch graphic art from 1500 until now. The French, Italian and German schools are well represented. Important partial collections are those of portraits and historical prints. Leiden University can boast an ever growing collection of contemporary prints.
Virtually every Dutch artist can be found in the collections
- Dutch prints from 1500 until the present time
- Representative collections of French, Italian and German prints
- Historical prints (picturing history)
- Prints of the Bibliotheca Thysiana (loan)
Many prints are accessible through the Catalogue (select "Prints" under Material Types in Advanced Search). These include the main collections of prints, the historical prints and the loan of the Bibliotheca Thysiana. Foreign schools and portraits are gradually being added to the online catalogue. The prints can be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room.
For a growing number of collections so-called collection guides are available through Digital Collections (select UBL Collection Guides in the search bar) with further information on the contents, the available printed catalogues or other resources, and access.