The Painting, Drawings and Prints collection has more than 10,500 works of art and published images. It includes drawings and paintings, original prints, sketch books, colonial broadsides, posters, textiles, and a handful of sculptures. The collection spans more than 200 years and captures some of the earliest and rarest representations of BC. It includes four hundred and fifty artists, with works from significant BC artists, amateurs, women artists, military personnel, surveyors, adventurers, watercolourists and early settlers.
The collection focuses on representational, two-dimensional imagery. Many artworks present BC settlement and settler renditions of Indigenous societies. They also depict maritime and overland exploration, trade and gold rushes. Significant collections by women artists include landscapes and botanical subjects. Other artworks range from land- and seascapes, portraiture, architectural renderings, industrial and survey art, and early graphic design.
Foundational pieces acquired by the province include early engravings from late eighteenth century coastal expeditions and portraiture of settler society. Provincial archivists actively solicited works of art through purchase and donation, including paintings by Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith, Grafton Tyler Brown, Nan Cheney, William Hind, E. J. Hughes, Judith Morgan and Ina Uhthoff. Major donations include approximately 3,000 works by five artists in the Crease family, and works by Emily Carr. The Royal BC Museum and Archives has the world's largest holdings of work by Emily Carr. These include 200 major works, 900 works on paper (mainly sketches and sketch books), 24 pottery pieces and 2 hooked rugs.
Many of these works have been described in our BC Archives collections search and more than 6,000 have a digital image available. You can search the entirety of these records by entering PDP into the basic search bar.
To access original works of art, an appointment must be made with the Paintings, Drawings and Prints Collections Manager. Please submit your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the collection, a particular artwork, or to discuss a potential loan please submit your request to email@example.com.
Some of these works have been featured in our Google Art Project.
To learn more about our other collections, see our Collections overview.
For other archives inquiries, see Contact us.