Outline of the Categories of Information
Building a Common Framework for Catalogue Entries
Implementing a Common Framework
Organization of the Guidelines
Subjects/Built Works
People/Corporate Bodies
Geographic Locations
Bibliographic Sources
Group Entries
Volume (Sketchbook) Entry
Item Entries
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A Guide to the Description of Architectural Drawings

Groups/Items Categories:


Provenance Description
Former Owner Name*

The history or sequence of ownership of a group or item can be recorded in these categories. A complete record of provenance includes all owners from the time an item left the maker's possession to the time it was acquired by the current repository. [1]

The history of ownership can provide valuable evidence, not only about former owners, but also, by extension, about the location of a given item throughout time and the history of collection.

Legal ownership is not necessarily a criterion for inclusion in Provenance. Further, if an item is in the possession of a dealer for a significant period of time, e.g., where it might have been viewed by others, the dealer may be listed as part of the provenance.

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Category: Provenance Description

A history of ownership of a group or item in narrative and/or list form. Information may include date of ownership, method of acquisition, uncertainty and lapses in provenance, and other circumstances.

Former owners may be recorded in chronological order, from the earliest to the most recent, but excluding the current owner. The current owner is considered to be the repository (unless otherwise noted) and is not, therefore, recorded here (see Group and Item Identification, one of the top level categories in Groups/Items.) When the item was acquired from the maker or the maker's estate, the name of that estate (a corporate body) is the first information listed.

Former owners may be identified by Locus (of Activity)/Location (under Biographical/Corporate History, one of the top level People/Corporate Bodies categories). The names of dealers, auction houses, or agents may appear within parentheses. Brief citations of Lugt numbers [2] and published auction catalogues may be recorded here, while full citations should appear under Bibliographic Sources. Sales may be identified by the name of the auction house, the city and date of sale, and the lot number.


Richard Bennett, Northampton, sale 1911 to (Gorer, London). Sale 1914 by (Dreicer and Co., New York, United States agent of Gorer). Bought by Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

The type of transaction between former owners may be identified. Terms include bequest, inheritance, long-term loan, unspecified donation, act of war, sale, gift, theft, returned, act of repleven, institutional requirement, unknown, anonymous gift, known to be in the possession of, bought, acquired from, received by.

A break in the known history of ownership may be indicated by three periods.

For groups and albums with contents of varying provenances, the level of cataloguing will determine how ownership is recorded. Generally, the provenance for the level chosen for cataloguing should be applicable to the entire contents. For example, an album's provenance begins with its compilation, while the individual drawings it contains have provenances that begin earlier.


Robert Smythson (England, ca. 1535—1614); John Smythson (died 1634); Huntingdon Smythson (died 1648); John Smythson the Younger (1640—1717); ... sold by the 5th Lord Byron at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, June 1778, lot 344; there bought by the Rev. D'Ewes Coke of Broke-hill Hall, Derbyshire; by descent to Mrs. S. Coke of Broke-hill Hall from whom the drawings with others was purchased by the RIBA in 1927. [3]

Sale, London, Sotheby's, "Botanical and Architectural Drawings and Watercolours,'' May 23, 1985, lot no. 142.

Correa was awarded the RIBA's Royal Gold Medal in 1984 and to mark the occasion, gave this drawing to the RIBA.

single occurrence

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Category: Former Owner Name

The name of a person or corporate body that had possession of the group or item for a significant period of time. The name is an access point, and therefore should be controlled by the People/Corporate Bodies authority.

Only the name of a former owner should be included in this category, in order to allow for retrieval by that name. Other information, e.g., dates of ownership and method of acquisition, may be recorded in Provenance Description. Any such information that also concerns the former owner's general biographical or corporate history, e.g., geographic location, may be recorded in the authority file.


Correa, Charles Mark
Bennett, Richard
Widener, Joseph E.

The term collection (or its equivalent) should apply only to corporate bodies, not to individuals.

access point
authority-controlled: People/Corporate Bodies

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