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Wenceslaus Hollar Collection of Etchings
University of Toronto, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

Hollar, Wenceslaus; Architecture, British; Architecture, European; Architecture--Early works to 1800; Etchings; Cities and towns--Views

The collection was donated by Sidney T. Fisher. It consists of two collections acquired by Sidney Fisher in 1967: The Leopold Saks Collection, assembled in Prague before 1939, and the Joseph Fischl Collection, assembled in Vienna. Additional etchings were acquired separately by Fisher.

The collection is a comprehensive collection of etchings by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677). Of the 2,733 plates executed in his lifetime, only a few are not represented, and most of those have been supplied photographically. The collection is unique because it contains numerous different states of many etchings, enabling a researcher to differentiate between early and later, often reworked, impressions, and to trace the publishing history of Hollar's works. Hollar's etchings include: views of British and European towns and cities, including his famous bird's-eye views and panoramas of London; maps of Europe and Britain; landscapes; views of ships; detailed studies of British architectural monuments and remains, especially ecclesiastical; studies of women's costume in Britain and Europe; and some views of contemporary events in Britain and Europe. The collection also includes an original chalk and wash sketch by Hollar, and a group of nineteenth century drawings by Peter Thompson, regarded as attempted Hollar forgeries. The chronological emphasis is the 1630s to the 1670s. The geographic emphasis is on Britain and Europe, especially the Low Countries. Additional items are acquired when available and as funds permit. The aim of the collection is to be as comprehensive as possible. The collection also includes secondary material. This collection is the largest in North America.

English, Latin, German, and Czech.

100 monographs containing 2,700 etchings; 3,600 separate sheets of etchings; 1 chalk and wash original sketch; 18 "forgeries"; 330 photographs of etchings and drawings held by other libraries; large scale reproductions.

Bibliographic Access
The collection is uncatalogued. The material is arranged by number, according to the classification scheme developed by Gustav Parthey, the first bibliographer. See Richard Pennington's A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar, 1607-1677 which indicates the library holdings.

Physical Access
The collection is open to the public with identification. For further information visit:

Interlibrary Loan: No.

Reprography: As the condition of the material warrants.

Reference Assistance: Yes.

Publications Describing Collection
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. -- Hollar's England: an exhibition of the etchings of Wenceslaus Hollar. -- Toronto : Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, 1978. Pennington, Richard. -- A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar,1607-1677. -- Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] : Cambridge University Press, 1982.