William L. Clements Library

Original Art


Original artwork has been actively sought by the Clements for its unique documentary content rather than aesthetic beauty. Drawings, watercolors, and paintings by professional, academic, and amateur artists may all have content relevant to the study of American history and culture. The Graphics Division of the Clements holds over 125,000 items including military sketches, formal and miniature portraits, illustrated journals, landscape and urban views, and social and political satire in original art form. Of particular note are the Civil War sketchbooks of James Klemroth and Harry A. Simmons, watercolors of Upper Canada by Edward Walsh, circa 1805, satiric sketches by Edward Williams Clay, circa 1820s, a pair of oil paintings by Nicholas Pocock depicting the action between U.S.S. Constitution and H.M.S. Java, 1812, and Benjamin West's masterpiece "The Death of General Wolfe."

Using the Collection

Small drawings and watercolors are listed on the finding aid for the Print Division. A comprehensive finding aid for the art collection is under construction. For additional information, please contact the Curator of Graphics.