Skip to Main Content

Art Auctions (Sales) Catalogues

Finding and requesting sales catalogues

The catalogues are kept in the Research Reserve (RRART) and most are not listed on FindIt@Bham, therefore you should contact with as much information you can give us about the catalogues you want, and staff will check to see if we have a copy. 

Please give the following information:

  • Name of auction house
  • Date of sale
  • Name of sale, if known
  • Place of sale, e.g., London
  • Lugt number, see Guides to sales catalogues for more information.

Academic staff and research postgraduates may request to browse sales catalogues published after 1900 in the Research Reserve. Taught students can be granted access at the request of a tutor.

Catalogues from the eighteenth century are individually listed on English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) and FindIt@Bham.

Since 2021 Sotheby’s and Christie’s have stopped producing printed catalogues, so please consult their websites for details of sales.

Guides to sales catalogues

The Repertoire des Catalogues de Ventes Publiques compiled by Fritz Lugt, known simply as Lugt, lists sales catalogues between published 1600-1925. A reference copy of Lugt, marked up to indicate Barber Fine Art Library holdings is kept for consultation behind the Reception Desk. The information in Lugt has not been updated and cannot be taken as an accurate listing of our entire collection, however it is the nearest we have to a catalogue and gives an idea of the range of material we hold. Please ask staff you wish to consult our copy.

See our Researching Art Sales ResourceList for more information about the art market and how to find and use sales catalogues.

The vendors' index

Until 2010 Barber Fine Art Library staff maintained a Vendors’ Index by obtaining the names of sellers from the sales catalogues we received every month and listing the lots they were selling.

Naming vendors helps to establish the provenance of a work of art, and this is important for sellers and buyers who wish to avoid potential future disputes concerning ownership, authenticity and consequently the value of works of art. Today, anybody requiring information like this would mostly check online databases such as those maintained by the Getty Research Institute.

The set of drawers containing the index is a notable feature of the Barber Fine Art Library's Main Reading Room.


Accessibility statement