The collection is presented here in the form of the inventory made at the Sale of the collection around 1649-51 and spans the major royal residences. The 1970-72 Walpole Society transcription of the Sale inventory has dictated the online order.
The Sale inventory is the most complete view of Charles I's art collection available. Following Charles I's execution on 30th January 1649, the Commons ordered a comprehensive record of the King's possessions. A staggering number of items are documented in the original manuscripts. For this reason the 'Lost Collection' reproduces only those records relating to paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, some furnishings and decorative art. Longer entries for decorative items are abridged in order not to overload the digital presentation, for example in the case of the tapestries beginning the listing below. Certain notes and codings from the original lists are not included for the same reason; note that after the end of each section in the lists a total and purchaser information usually appear - these are similarly omitted online.
Original Sale information is spread throughout a number of source manuscripts, each slightly different. Where online information is taken from the various copies or duplicates of the source manuscripts, brackets are used to differentiate; square brackets offer twenty-first-century knowledge or opinions. Not every inventory number is taken from the original manuscripts, where many items are unnumbered. We encourage students of the collection to refer to the Walpole Society transcription for further detail on the source manuscripts and the various copies and duplicates, and provide a glossary to clarify our translation of the seventeenth-century information into digital format.
Each entry contains a view of the work in question and could have as many as three sections: current knowledge about the work including - where possible - an image, and information from van der Doort's inventory and from the Sale inventory.
The location of items inventoried at the Sale does not necessarily reflect their location during the reign. Items moved after the King's execution; some items inventoried at St James's or Somerset House, for instance, were located at Whitehall during the reign. "Reserved: in His Highness' service" labels items intended for Oliver Cromwell's use.