Collection NameTate Public Records
Reference Number (click the number to browse all records in this collection)TG 4
Alternative Reference NumberPC
TitleTate Collections
Access StatusOPEN
Access ConditionsPlease contact the Reading Rooms:
a minimum of 10 working days notice is required to see specific items in this series; a seat must also be available in the Archive and Special Collections Room
LocationRed Zone
DescriptionScope and content: inventories, 1897-1975; acquisitions, 1888-1994; acquisitions and purchases declined, 1925-1980; bequests, 1879-1985; offers in lieu of tax [currently no files]; gifts, 1906-1964; prints, 1970-1986; loans in, 1895-1987; loans out, 1899-1997; transfers and exchanges, 1917-1988; cataloguing, 1946-1985; desiderata, 1949-1973; copyright, 1908-1952.
ArrangementThe archive has been listed according to the principles set out in the General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD(G)) and to guidelines issued by the Public Record Office. The list comprises the file reference, dates, title and brief description. Archives relating to the Tate Collections have been given the class number TG 4. Material in this class has been listed down to file level.
Finding AidsA list of the records is available on the CALM database and in hard copy in the Tate Archive searchroom.
Related MaterialThe minutes of the Board of Trustees (TG 1/3) also contain detailed information about works in the Collections, including acquisitions, transfers and loans of works.
Administrative HistoryThe Gallery was originally known as the National Gallery of British Art from 1897 until October 1920. The original collection consisted of the gift of Sir Henry Tate, paintings given by George F. Watts, works purchased by the Chantrey Commissioners since 1877 and some works which were transferred from the National Gallery.
The Foreign Collection began in 1917 when pictures from the Lane Bequest, formerly in store at the National Gallery, were transferred to the Tate. In 1924 the Courtauld Fund was established to buy works of modern foreign art and the building of a modern foreign gallery, financed by Duveen, commenced. This was completed in 1926. Modern foreign representation in the Collection increased in 1933 with the bequest of 20th century French paintings by Frank C. Stoop.
As there was no purchase grant before 1946, the Gallery depended on gifts, bequests, long term loans, transfers from the National Gallery and purchases from small amounts of income (such as the Knapping Fund) which were at the Trustees' disposal. The Collection was also added to by the pictures bought annually by the Chantrey Bequest which was controlled by the President and Council of the Royal Academy.
The National Gallery and Tate Gallery Act of 1954 gave full legal responsibility for the Collections to the Trustees of the Tate Gallery. The Tate Trustees recognised that the British school must be represented in the National Gallery by an adequate selection of paintings of established merit and undertook to transfer to the National Gallery such British pictures as the National Gallery Trustees might require for exhibition. Since 1955 works acquired by the Tate have numbers prefixed by T; previously they had been given N numbers. The Treasury minute of 5 February 1955 recognised that the Tate Gallery would constitute the National Collection of British Painting, Modern Foreign Painting and Modern Sculpture.
Drawings and prints were originally regarded as part of the Tate's province but after World War Two there was a tendency to leave the acquisition of such works to institutions such as the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum which had special departments for prints and drawings. However, some watercolours, prints and drawings continued to be accessioned into the British and Modern Collections from time to time where these works formed a natural supplement to other works. In 1972 the Institute of Contemporary Prints was founded to establish a post-war print archive and in 1975 the ICP formally presented to the Tate about 2,600 prints. In October 1974 an assistant keeper for prints was appointed to take over the work of the ICP.
The British and Modern Collections together with Prints now form the Collections Division which has a central responsibility within the Tate for the acquisition and cataloguing of works in the Collection.
Custodial HistoryThe records have either been deposited in the archives from the Collections Division or had previously been transferred to Gallery Records or its predecessors.
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