During the 17th century, Cassiano dal Pozzo and his brother embarked upon an epic attempt to assemble a 'Paper Museum', documenting the major fields of knowledge of their day.

An unquenchable curiosity and desire to document the world around him drove the Italian patron Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657) to assemble his ‘Paper Museum’ – a spectacular collection of around 10,000 drawings, watercolours and prints.

It covered antiquities, architecture, zoology, botany and geology, social customs and ceremonies, costumes, portraits, topography and military maps. The collection was – before the invention of photography – one of the most impressive visual records of antiquities and natural history.

It was acquired by George III in 1762, and is now part of the Royal Collection. This exhibition – the second in an annual collaboration between the Barber and Royal Collection Trust – is co-curated by MA Art History and Curating students, and will explore a selection of these works on paper. It is enhanced by rare books and geological specimens from the University’s Cadbury Research Library and the Lapworth Museum respectively.

Prints & drawingsBooks & manuscriptsNatural historyBirminghamWest Midlands

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands, B15 2TS

0121 414 7333


Opening times

Weekdays, 10am - 5pm
Weekends, 11am - 5pm

1st January, Good Friday, 24-26th December: Closed.

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