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Your place to explore new perspectives on British art from 1900 to now. Through interviews, films, image galleries and essays, we uncover the creative lives of the people behind the art on our walls.

The inside of a box file showing newspaper clipping for a David Remfry exhibition.

Shelf Life: Artists' Files

[ Library and Archive )

Our Library and Archives at Pallant House Gallery have many hidden gems. Well-hidden are our collections of ephemera full of fascinating information.

Ephemera collections are defined as collections of, usually, printed materials, which bring together various items on a particular individual or subject. They include such things as press cuttings, press releases, articles, reviews, bibliographies, private view cards and invitations, artists’ biographies, statements and CVs, posters, publicity leaflets and flyers, and, occasionally photographs and correspondence. (With thanks to the Library and Special Collections at University of the Arts London: Chelsea College of Art and Design for their very helpful definition.)

Our Artists’ Files, unprepossessing boxes covering about 12 linear metres,  contain a wealth of information on nearly 3000 artists, arranged alphabetically.  Artists’ Files contain documentation about established artists as well as information on lesser-known artists, often the only reference about an artist. We also have a smaller collection of Subject Files with contextual art and design ephemera arranged by subject.

Rows of metal shelves holding blue box files in the Pallant House Gallery Archive.
The inside of a box file showing newspaper clipping for a David Remfry exhibition.
A row of box files on a shelf labelled with numbers.

Our guidelines of what ephemera is included in our collections reflects the mission of the Gallery ‘… to share and stimulate new thinking on British art and to play a pivotal role in the creative lives of the widest possible audience’


We use the following criteria to select ephemera to include in the Artists’ Files:

  • Artists held in the Collections
  • Artists we have held exhibitions about
  • Other British artists working from 1900 to now
  • Non-British artists of relevance to the Gallery’s collections
  • British Printmakers
  • British ceramicists and potters
  • British photographers.


Some of the topics we collect for the Subject Files:

  • The history of Pallant House Gallery, its architecture and development.
  • Art movements
  • International art by country
  • Applied arts – textiles, glass, and product design, graphic design etc.


In addition, we have our Exhibition Archive, part of the Pallant House Gallery’s Institutional Archive. Each archive box holds information relating to the exhibitions, displays and events for that particular year or season. For each of our Exhibition Archive boxes we collect:

  • The exhibition catalogue
  • Image sheets
  • The relevant PHG Magazine
  • Wall texts
  • Labels
  • Private view cards
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Information sheets
  • Press releases
  • Press coverage
  • (Curatorial correspondence, contracts, notes, plans etc. remain with the Curatorial team.)
Grey boxes labelled with years holding our exhibition archives.

The various ephemera collections offer a wide range of resources for anyone researching British art from 1900 to now and more specifically artists in our collections or that have been featured in our exhibitions.


For example, we have archived the exhibition, Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris as well as having an Artists’ File on her.

Newspaper clipping and a poster for the Gwen John exhibition.
More newspaper clippings about the Gwen John exhibition.

Similarly, we will be archiving our forthcoming exhibition, John Craxton: A Modern Odyssey, as well as having an extensive Artists’ File on John Craxton.

Items relating to John Craxton including a yellow leaflelt and a blue leaflet titled John Craxton in Greece.
More newspaper clippings relating to John Craxton.

Our Artists’, Subject and Exhibition Files are available to use for research by appointment, and provide an invaluable addition to the books and catalogues we hold.

The Library and Archives are open on Wednesdays and Thursdays. More information can be found on our website

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