Rare Books

Baillieu Library Print Collection

wilson hall



The University’s Print Collection is one of its most prized treasures. It includes some 8,000 prints – mostly etchings, engravings, mezzotints, lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings – that date from the fifteenth century to the twentieth.  It is based on a gift of 3,700 Old Master prints donated by Dr John Orde Poynton in 1959 and was further enhanced in 1964 with Harold Wright’s bequest of half his Lionel Lindsay print collection and prints by his British contemporaries. There are some Australian works, but the majority of prints are European. The Collection is unique amongst Australian university collections; no other university in Australia has a similar collection of international prints spanning five centuries. Some of the highlights include prints by Albrecht Dürer and his contemporaries, Aldegrever, the Sadeler Family, Jacques Callot, Claude Lorrain, Rembrandt, William Hogarth, Francisco de Goya and Lionel Lindsay. The Collection was originally intended as a teaching tool for students and it continues to be used particularly by students of art history and history here at the University.

What's On

Radicals, slayers and villains
A travelling exhibition

Achilles Dragging Hector's Corpse Around the Walls of Troy

Pietro Testa, Achilles Dragging Hector's Corpse Around the Walls of Troy, (1645-50),
plate: 26.3 x 41.6, sheet: 27.5 x 42.0 cm, etching,  reg. no. 1986.2001,
purchased 1986, Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne.


The exhibition Radicals, slayers and villains will be a major attraction at the University’s biennial Cultural Treasures Festival in July 2014. The exhibition will then travel to venues in regional Victoria.

 Radicals, slayers and villains shows controversial figures from history that have challenged the status-quo and helped shape our world. The striking imagery of these works is captured by seminal artists including Dürer, Goya and Rembrandt. The artists in the exhibition have been instrumental in the development of Western art and the universal theme of the individual and his or her role in society is illustrated through these extraordinarily powerful works. The exhibition has wide appeal through its representation of themes, such as the place and role of the individual in society, the depiction of the human figure, the impact of violence, and death. The often violent imagery depicted in the ‘slayers’ component of the exhibition presented great appeal to artists working from the Renaissance onwards, and inherent in these images is their capacity to shock and inspire awe in contemporary audiences with their lethal armoury of brutal and savage capabilities. The depiction of the human figure is equally arresting in the group of works categorised as ‘villains’, which shows supernatural skeletons bringing death, hybrid fiends, demons, criminals and evil animals all conspiring to throw our existence into turmoil.

More information.


Print Matters at the Baillieu

Print Matters book cover

Print matters is a book with serious bite! It is a collection of essays composed by some of the finest print scholars in Australia. They reveal some juicy and fascinating insights into collectors, collections, and works of art. Inspired by the print collection at the Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne the publication goes beyond Melbourne, and the authors take us to people, art, buildings and gardens through Australia and the world. These papers are the proceedings from the 2011 symposium of the same title which was held at the University. The volume is essential reading for anyone interested in the state of printmaking arts.

To purchase contact Kerrianne Stone




Some prints have been digitised and are available to view. We are adding images as they are completed.


Photographic copies of most prints in the collection can be purchased, depending on their condition and copyright. Items from the collection can be viewed by prior arrangement, for research purposes. For further information contact Rare Books staff at the Baillieu Library:

Ms Kerrianne Stone: Rare Books Officer (Prints)
Tel: (03) 8344 9998
Email: kjstone@ unimelb.edu.au

Ms Chen Chen: Rare Books Officer (Cultural Collections and Prints)
Tel: (03) 8344 8040
Email: chenc@ unimelb.edu.au


Print Collection audio tour

Research and publications using the Print Collection

Past exhibitions on the Cultural Collections site

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