Pictorial Collections

The Library has large collections of engravings and lithographs, drawings, postcards, photographs and prints. The subjects are mainly portraits, locations and historical events.

Read about the Library's pictorial collections and how to find and access them.

Search for drawings

Content of the collection

Our drawing collection contains about 10,000 drawings by Swedish artists and about 400 drawings by foreign artists. The collection spans over 500 years – from the 1500s to the 1990s.

The Swedish Drawing Collection

The Swedish Drawing Collection (pencil, watercolour, charcoal, ink, wash, etc.) has diverse content, featuring cultural and historical scenes as well as city images, landscapes and portraits. Through his donation to Uppsala University Library, antique dealer Per Karlsson, Stockholm, made the digitisation of this collection possible.

Drawings by famous artists

The collection includes famous artists such as Carl Gustaf Pilo, Johan Tobias Sergel, Carl Fredric von Breda, Louis Masreliez, Elias Martin, Carl Johan Fahlcrantz, Jean Eric Rehn and Carl Larsson. The more famous amateurs include Augustin and Carl August Ehrensvärd, Hjalmar Mörner, Carl Stefan Bennet, Carl Gustaf Löwenhielm, Fredrika Bremer and many others. The foreign drawings include prints by Bernini, Boucher, Callot, Poussin, Raphael, Rembrandt and Rubens - in some cases with questionable attribution.

Examples of famous drawings in our collections

The most famous of our drawings is a small and at first glance unremarkable image commonly referred to as the 'Courtiers of Geldern' or the 'Silver Pencil Drawing'. Another example is the "Deposition Act" (in Swedish, Depositionsakten), an initiation rite that students in the 17th century were forced to undergo (equivalent to today's hazing). Some examples from the collection of drawings can be found in the Carolina Rediviva Exhibition Hall.

How did the Library acquire its drawings?

The large collections of watercolours, washings, pencil and charcoal drawings, etc. have mainly come to us during the 19th century through several donations. Two of the most significant donations in the collection of drawings were those of Major General Carl Hård and the tanner Jacob Westin. Hård's 1834 donation consisted of more than 4,000 Swedish drawings and almost 500 foreign ones. It is difficult to say how many were in Westin's 1877 donation, but they were included in the 68 portfolios with "maps, views and drawings of Sweden" and 28 portfolios with portraits of Swedes that, together with other maps and images, probably contributed to the establishment of a special department ("Map and Plan Department") at the Library in the early 1900s.

Utsnitt ur teckningen Depositionsakten.

Section of the drawing "The Deposition Act".

Search for engravings and lithographs

Content of the collection

The collections contain prints from the end of the 15th century to the present day and feature different genres, locations, historical scenes and portraits.

There are examples of all engraving techniques, from 15th century woodcuts to 19th century colour lithographs.

The collection includes contributions by both foreign masters (such as Dürer, Rembrandt, Andrea Mantegna, Claude Mellan, Jacques Callot, and Antonio Tempesta) and Swedish masters (Elias and Johan Fredrik Martin, Anders Zorn and others).

How did the Library acquire its engravings and lithographs?

The collections of engravings and lithographs mostly arrived during the 19th century via a number of donations. Two of the most significant ones were those of Major General Carl Hård (1834), with about 6,000 engravings and lithographs, and tanner Jacob Westin (1877), which included 28 portfolios of portraits, most of which were prints. A third important donation was the approximately 20,000 engravings and lithographs that accompanied Carl Gustaf von Brinkman's large book donation in 1847.

Litografi föreställande Carl von Linné omgiven av änglar med blomrankor.

Lithograph depicting Carl von Linné in 1806.

Search for images of towns, landscapes and other locations

Content of the collection

The pictorial collections contain a large number of Swedish and foreign views of cities and landscapes as well as exteriors and interiors of various buildings.

The collection comprises about 100,000 images employing techniques such as engraving, watercolour, and photography. It also includes architectural drawings.

Arkitekturritning i akvarell av Falsterbo Fyrbåk

Architectural drawing in watercolour of Falsterbo Fyrbåk, 1801.

Search for photographs

Content of the collection

We have large collections of photographic material from the 19th century to the present. They are mainly landscapes, city images and portraits.


Most of the portraits are from the 1860s to the 1930s, but both older and newer pictures are available.

Landscapes and other locations

There is extensive documentation of the city of Uppsala and its surroundings from the 1860s until about 1950. The collections also include photographs from other places in Sweden and abroad.

Collection of negatives

Our collections also include negatives from famous Uppsala photographers:

  • Henri Osti – the oldest and perhaps best known is the archive of the German-born photographer Henri Osti (Heinrich Osti), who had his studio in Uppsala from 1859 to 1914. The collection comprises around 16,000 items and depicts settings and people with a focus on Uppsala in the late 19th century. Osti's legacy of glass negatives is jointly managed by the Uppland Museum and the University Library. The Museum keeps the landscapes and city images from Osti's collection, while the Library is responsible for the portraits from Osti's photo studio. Several of Osti's portrait photographs can be found in Alvin.
  • Per Kjellén – photographer Per Kjellén's approximately 30,000 glass negatives, mainly depicting the academic world in Uppsala until 1940 or so.
  • Ateljé Hagberg – large portrait collection from Uppsala, 1892–1960.
  • Ellen Claeson – Uppsala photographer Ellen Claeson (active 1904–1961) left a collection of about 26,000 negatives.
  • Larsson and Alfred Dahlgren – in 1939, the photographer Joel Andersson (b. 1885) donated a collection of glass negatives to the University Library. It contained negatives from A. Larsson (active 1892–1924) and Alfred Dahlgren (active 1890–1908). The glass negatives from Alfred Dahlgren's photography of Uppsala in 1901–02 and 1908 are at the Uppland Museum.
  • Gunnar Sundgren – in the 1980s, the collections of the Uppsala photographer Gunnar Sundgren (1901–1970) were donated to the Uppland Museum. The Museum is responsible for the negatives of landscapes and city images, while the collection of portraits is to be found at the University Library. Our collections also include views of Uppsala and Uppland.
Studenter lyfter en skylt med bild av en Volvo PV 444

Students on Walpurgis. Photo: Unknown ca 1944–ca 1950.

Search for portraits

Content of the collection

A large number of people are represented by their portraits in the pictorial collections. There are about 300,000 portraits employing different techniques – from drawing to photography.

We have portraits from the 16th century onwards of famous and unknown people from Sweden and abroad. There are also a number of fictional portraits of people who lived long before the 16th century.

Svartvitt fotografi av Verner Aspenström med katt på axeln.

Author Verner Aspenström portrayed with his cat. Photo: Michael Normann 1987

Search for postcards

Content of the collection

The University Library has large collections of postcards:

  • Postcards from different towns and places in Sweden (the largest category).
  • Postcards with historical themes including culture and art.
  • Foreign locations.
Svartvit fotografi av en orangutang som sitter på en stol. Under bilden har någon skrivit för hand med blyertspenna.

Postcard sent by Carl Larsson to Esbjörn Larsson-Hytte from Zoologischen Garten, Berlin 1904-07-04.

Search for posters and charts

Content of the collection

The Library's large collection of Swedish posters from the 19th century to the 1960s spans Swedish culture and society. Parts of this collection have been digitised, including circus posters from 1830 to the beginning of the 20th century.

From the 1970s onwards, we have a smaller selection of Swedish posters, for example of important events and specific people.

We also have a collection of Russian posters from the Russian Revolution.

Swedish posters from the 1940s.

Access the pictorial collections

View digitised collections

Some of the collections are digitised and can be viewed in Alvin – Platform for digital collections and digitized cultural heritage.

See collections that are not yet digitised

If you want to study items that are not yet digitised, you are welcome to visit us and study the items on site or request a digital copy.


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