The Print Room at the Warsaw University Library – an artistic collection in the academic library
Taking as an example one of the most important collections of art in Poland, the present author analyses the rules of cataloguing, protecting and displaying graphic and drawing works of art. When King Stanisław August was building his library, he wanted it to follow the French model and become a typical bibliotheca regia that combined both a book collection and a Print Room – housing a collection of artistic drawings and prints as well as other items (manuscripts, maps, “antiquities,” etc). These collections were to serve as a study material as well as workshop for artists and scholars at the court. In order to make the collection easily accessible, it was arranged thematically. The king’s idea was implemented after his death thanks to the efforts of Stanisław Kostka Potocki. The Print Room was bought in 1818 for the Warsaw University and the gaps which Potocki noticed in the royal set were filled by him with items from his own collection. Thus two excellent collections became the foundations was of the first graphic collection in Poland available to the public – a collection which from the very beginning was associated with the University and its academic library. The high editorial quality (that took into account the latest methodological achievements from Dresden and Vienna) established at the very beginning of the collection as well as the objectives the authors of the collection set for its curators oblige us to continue this tradition. The fact that the Print Room is a part of the University and its academic library, and the historical nature of the collection require specific solutions for its daily functioning. This involves, first of all, multilevel editorial work (cataloguing, academic editing), protection of the collection (storage conditions, digitalization, maintenance) and making the collection available to the public (local display, loans for exhibitions, educational and publication-related purposes).