Holdings are extensive (albeit by no means fully comprehensive). They range from early (pre-1800) catalogues to very recent catalogues received through legal deposit. Many areas of the art market are covered -- not just paintings.
Early imprints are with Special Collections, most post-1900 imprints are housed offsite ("Closed stack"). Art auction catalogues and art dealers' catalogues held at the Bodleian Library are either individually catalogued in SOLO or group-catalogued in SOLO or not in SOLO and only located by using handlists.
What is group-cataloguing?
A group-catalogued record is a very minimal level bibliographic record. Group-cataloguing allows for boxes or runs of previously uncatalogued material to be recorded in SOLO. The items in the boxes are not listed individually on SOLO, rather a group-catalogued record provides a title based entry which briefly describes the contents of each box.
To identify Oxford holdings, use SOLO.
Use keyword searching (auction house or dealer name, word/s in catalogue title) plus year.
Example: christie paintings 1996
Pre-1880 auction catalogues at the Bodleian
The Bodleian Library's holdings include some very early sales catalogues, not all of which are on SOLO. To find early catalogues on SOLO, use keyword searching and sort your results in Date-oldest order.
Can't find what you are looking for?
Bodleian holdings not on SOLO
In former years, many pre-1900 & early C20th auction & dealer catalogues now held at the Bodleian & Sackler libraries were not individually catalogued. Instead, holdings were set out in “handlists” only.
Some of the handlists have SOLO records (see column on the right), but the catalogues listed in them may well not appear on SOLO. If you cannot find the catalogue you are looking for, therefore, you may need to consult a handlist.
A large percentage of the Bodleian's auction and dealer catalogues arrive via legal deposit (aka the Copyright Act).
The below auction houses deposit on a regular basis, although no sequence is necessarily complete and not every departments' catalogues are sent.
NOTE: As more auction house records are made available online, fewer hard copy titles are arriving via legal deposit. Readers, therefore, will not necessarily find the print version of an auction catalogue on SOLO. Please see the Auction houses online section on the Electronic resources subpage of this guide for further information.
A Scene at an Oxford Book Auction
William Green Jr. Scene at an Oxford Book Auction oil on canvas 1747 (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford)
This guide discusses the resources available for researching auctions & sales of art works, not books. Please contact Special Collections at the Bodleian Library for information related to book auctions & sales.
Not all early imprints are on SOLO. You will need to use a variety of hard copy handlists & indexes describing Bodleian & Sackler holdings to locate them.
For Sackler Library holdings please see the Sackler Library holdings: auction catalogues and Sackler Library holdings: art dealers' catalogues subpages.