The collection is presented here in the order of the inventory made by the keeper of the royal collection, Abraham van der Doort, around 1639. Unlike the Sale, the inventory is only a partial view of the collection; it focusses on Whitehall Palace and begins to tackle a handful of other residences in briefer form towards the end of its contents.
Van der Doort's original information is spread throughout a set of source manuscripts, each differing slightly. Some information included in the 1960 Walpole Society transcription has been omitted online to avoid duplication in the database, notably the 'Frizell List' and 'Titian List' (pp.181-4 and 192-3). We also include supplementary information from another roughly contemporaneous inventory (c.1640) not drawn up by van der Doort (the V&A MS.). The St James's Palace section is taken wholly from that V&A manuscript. Note that not every inventory number online is taken from the original sources, where some items are unnumbered. Van der Doort's measurements, as he states, are taken within the frames; and measurements sometimes differ across the source manuscripts. Where online information is taken from more than one source manuscript, brackets are used to differentiate; square brackets offer twenty-first-century knowledge or opinion. We encourage students of the collection to refer to the Walpole Society pages for further detail and provide a glossary to clarify our translation of the seventeenth-century information into digital format.
Each online entry contains a view of the work in question and could have as many as three sections: current knowledge about the work, and the information from van der Doort's inventory and from the Sale inventory. Each entry also includes where possible an image of the work, as well as (in the case of the van der Doort inventory) the relevant page from the Walpole Society transcriptions of the inventories, which may be found by scrolling to the right of the image.
The principal manuscript (MS. Ash. 1514) begins: A Book of all such the King's Pictures as are by his Majesty's Special appointment placed at this present time remaining in Whitehall...