Cottonian Collection Drawings and Watercolours

There are approximately three hundred drawings and watercolours from the 16th to 18th centuries.


drawing of the head of a woman

‘Head of a Woman’ by Andrea del Sarto

The larger part of this collection comprises drawings, including works by many Old Masters and English artists such as Andrea del Sarto, Castiglione, Van Goyen, Rysbrack and Thornhill.

Though a small number of the drawings were inherited from William Townson (1682-1740), the vast majority were purchased by Charles Rogers (1711-1784). Some drawings were even commissioned or acquired directly from the artist such as de Loutherbourg and Rysbrack.

The collection also include a fine Sandby and a set of Indian watercolour drawings of the Mughal school, dating from around 1735.


There are 13 watercolours in the collection. These include works by Stephen Poyntz Denning, George Barret Jr. and Maria Cosway.

Access the drawings and watercolours online

Please note that not all records are currently complete to the same standard. If there are any errors, please get in touch with us.