Summary: over 340 works including 138 items comprising a set by the Victorian art critic P. G. Hamerton to illustrate the techniques of graphic arts and 64 Victorian prints after Landseer, otherwise mostly relating to local history.
In 1905, Jesse Haworth (1835–1921) gave 121 Landseer prints. At the time they were considered a most valuable gift but by 1920 the prints were considered unfashionable and were loaned out to local schools. Many were damaged but 61 are still in the collection together with another four Landseer prints from other sources.
The art critic P G Hamerton created a set of prints, pencil drawings and watercolours which he gave to Burnley Mechanics Institute in 1893 for the benefit of art students, (see Burnley Express 5th August 1983, page 7, col.2). A total of 138 items were transfered from Burnley Library to Towneley in 1986. In total there are 135 prints with Hamerton's descriptive notes together with three coloured drawings.
A few of the local history prints, particularly portraits of the Towneley family are regularly displayed but otherwise the prints are seldom displayed and many are in poor condition. A few of the better Landseer and Hamerton prints are framed, the rest being stored in melinex sleeves.
The basic details for all the prints are recorded in the Modes database. Index cards for prints were started in 1973 but have not been updated since around 1997.