The buildings of Eton College have long been a popular subject for watercolourists. While the landscape watercolourist Alexander Cozens (1717–1786) rented rooms on the High Street in Eton during the 1760s, from where he offered drawing lessons to boys at the school, artists increasingly visited the college to paint its picturesque buildings and landscapes. Fittingly, the Eton Collections include some 4,500 drawings and watercolours depicting a wide variety of subjects by some of the best-known artists in the medium, including Gainsborough, Thomas Girtin, J. M. W. Turner and Samuel Palmer.
In addition to fine art, the Eton College Collections include decorative art, rare books and manuscripts, artefacts, and natural history specimens. Items in the Collections range in date from prehistory to the present day.