Tate Britain Venue

Prints and Drawings Rooms

View drawings, prints and more from Tate's collection not currently on display in the galleries

All visitors are welcome to access Tate's holdings of prints, drawings and watercolours that are not on display elsewhere, at the Prints and Drawings Rooms at Tate Britain.

Visitors are able to:

  • See unframed works ranging from Turner to modern and contemporary international artists in detail
  • Engage with the collection in an intimate study room environment
  • Visit for pleasure or for academic study

Please visit the Prints and Drawings Room page to find out how to arrange your visit.


The Holdings are arranged into the following four collections ranging from Turner to modern and contemporary international artists.

Historic British art

Tate has a fine collection of British School art on paper spanning the sixteenth to the late nineteenth centuries. This rich and varied collection includes:

Like the Oppé Collection and Turner Bequest the Historic British collection is also rich in landscape watercolours and engravings, featuring the works of Thomas Girtin, John Sell Cotman and Peter De Wint.

William Blake The Simoniac Pope


Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt Study of a Girl’s Head for ‘The Mill’


Helen Beatrix Potter ‘Where is My Twist?’


Edward Lear Near Calvi


The Turner Bequest

After J.M.W. Turner’s death in 1851, the contents of his studio became the property of the nation. The Turner Bequest comprises around 30,000 works of art on paper, including watercolours, drawings and 300 oil paintings. Most works in the Bequest are unfinished pieces or preparatory studies.

The Bequest provides a unique insight into Turner’s methods and documents his travels around Britain and Europe. In addition to mounted works, the Prints and Drawings Rooms hold 280 bound Turner sketchbooks.

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Scarlet Sunset


Joseph Mallord William Turner A ‘fête-champetre’ at Gisors


Joseph Mallord William Turner The Burning of the Houses of Parliament


Joseph Mallord William Turner The Dark Rigi: Sample Study


The Oppé Collection

Formed by the distinguished scholar and collector Paul Oppé (1878–1957), this was one of the last major collections of British watercolours and drawings to have stayed in private hands. The collection has long been regarded as being of national importance and was acquired by Tate in 1996.

The Oppé Collection comprises over 3,000 works of art on paper, including portraits, figurative drawings, and most notably landscapes from the ‘golden age’ of British watercolour painting (1750–1850).

Among the most striking are those produced by artists working in Switzerland and Italy in the era of the Grand Tour, including Richard Wilson, Francis Towne, JR Cozens, John ‘Warwick’ Smith, John Downman, William Marlow and William Pars.

The acquisition of the Oppé Collection was made possible by grants from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and from the National Art Collections Fund. The cataloguing of the Oppé Collection has also been supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Alexander Cozens Rocky Bay Scene


John Hamilton Mortimer Caricature Heads

date not known

Thomas Gainsborough Study of a Cow in a Landscape


Modern and contemporary prints

This particularly strong area of Tate’s collection features the work of several important British and international printmakers, ranging from Stanley William Hayter to Richard Hamilton and Paula Rego. Among the holdings are important editions from Curwen Studio, Kelpra Studio and Tyler Graphics.

It contains a variety of portfolios which incorporate narrative or showcase the works of several artists, and represents print-making media ranging from monotype to digital.

The collection includes:

Paula Rego Whinney Moor


Roy Lichtenstein Explosion


Sir Eduardo Paolozzi Ciao Picasso


Lucian Freud Woman Sleeping


Anish Kapoor [no title]


Modern and contemporary drawings

Tate’s modern and contemporary British and international drawings cover a wide range of genres, aesthetics and styles, from the sketchbook drawings of Oskar Kokoschka to the serpentine forms of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, the visceral sketches of Francis Bacon and the absurd subjects of Marcel Dzama.

Francis Bacon Turning Figure


Sir Stanley Spencer Self-Portrait


Henri Gaudier-Brzeska Vulture II


Modern Photography

Tate’s strong and fast-growing photography collection is built around the acquisition of works in groups or series to represent key periods, movements and practitioners in-depth. Highlights include the Eric and Louise Franck London Collection – a major body of photographs depicting the capital by important photographers from around the globe – and a rich collection of modernist photography, with pre-eminent examples by key practitioners from places as diverse as Latin America, East and West Europe, Southeast Asia, and Japan.

James Barnor Eva, London

1960s, printed 2010

Tacita Dean Wasp


Karen Knorr, Olivier Richon Kings Road from the Punks series


Jeremy Deller, Alan Kane Mari’s Taxi


We Recommend


J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings, Watercolours

A comprehensive catalogue of Tate's holdings of Turner’s works on paper, with accompanying essays

Reading Rooms

All members of the public can access the Tate Library and Archive collections in the Hyman Kreitman Reading Room