The beginning of the collection of posters part of the initiative promoted in 1867 by Genaro Alenda and Mira, librarian of the Biblioteca Nacional, who succeeded in setting up a project not very common in the libraries of this period, including in the funds of a national library a type of material that was not common in the collections of such institutions. Supported by the director, library, Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch suggested that the government the establishment of a new section which would receive the name of Several.


The poster holding of the Biblioteca Nacional de España comprise three collections. These collections are: Advertising posters, posters of the Republic and those of the Civil War kept by the Drawings and Engravings Service that have come in since 1957 under the Copyright Library Act; these are held in the Biblioteca Nacional premises in Alcalá de Henares.

The advertising poster collection began in 1867 thanks to the initiative of Genaro Alenda y Mira, one of institution's librarians who promoted the creation of a Sundry Papers Section. From 1870 to 1889, Alenda gathered a collection of works which came in through purchase, donation and as deposits by printers in compliance with the former Copyright Library Act. The posters he collected, after successive moves, reached the depositories of the Drawings and Engravings Service in a terrible state of conservation. In 2002, after significant renovation work, they were shown to the public in an exhibition and catalogue entitled Memoria de la seducción. Carteles publicitarios del siglo XIX en la Biblioteca Nacional [Memory of seduction. 19th century advertising posters in the Biblioteca Nacional] which studied and catalogued 224 items.

The collection comprising over 500 posters from the Republic and the Civil War was acquired for the Biblioteca Nacional in 1982 from a private collector by the National Centre of the Documentary and Bibliographic Treasury, a body belonging to the Ministry of Culture, and it has grown through new acquisitions. The study and cataloguing of the posters is described in the Catálogo de carteles de la República y la Guerra Civil Española published in 1990.

As of 1957, under the Copyright Library Act, thousands of prints begin to enter the Biblioteca Nacional, particularly worthy of mention being an enormous collection of posters, now exceeding one million, which are being catalogued in the premises of the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Alcalá.


The collection of 19th century advertising posters is divided into different categories depending on the various activities they announce: circus, theatre bullfighting, fairs, festivities and exhibitions, travel and transport, freight haulage, horse-racing, publications, dances, politics and miscellaneous posters. The main authors include Daniel Perea, Alfredo Perea, Marcelino de Unceta, Manuel Salvi, C. Chavez, R. de Almodóvar, J. Pastor, Francisco Ortego and Jules Chéret.

The posters of the Republic and the Civil War are excellent examples of Spanish political and war posters. The collection is divided into five subject blocks: Allegorical portraits and representations, election campaigns, war posters, the rearguard and national posters. Their authors include some of the most outstanding illustrators and poster designers: Alumá, Arteche, Ballester, Bardasano, Bofarull, Camps, Castanys, Clavé, Fábregas, Goñi, Guillermo, Llimona, Mallafré, Martí-Bas, Melendreras, Monleón, Morell, Renau, etc. This collection has grown progressively through successive purchases.

Some posters dating from the early 20th century by important Spanish poster designers of the period, such as Casas, Riquer, Baldrich, Martra, Nualart, Utrillo, Penagos, etc, have recently been acquired.


Vino de Bugeaud
Advertising posters

The poster or commercial aims mainly at the sale of goods or the dissemination of an event or activity.

Cartel del Gran Casino de San Sebastián
Travel and tourism posters

An important part of the collection of posters of the BNE is dedicated to travel and tourism: means of transport, accommodations and gastronomy, excursions, promotion of cultural attractions, etc.

Ferias y fiestas de S. Fermín acordadas por el Exmo Ayuntamiento
Posters of shows, parties and other events

The posters of spectacles experience a moment of glory in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the rise of the bourgeoisie, which you can dedicate more time and resources to leisure and cultural consumption.

República, 11 de febrero de 1873 : dedicado al Gobierno de la República
Propaganda posters

Political ideas they will find the poster a medium through which attract followers and disseminate various positions before the events.