Library Subject Guides

Art: Finding Art books

Finding books

Art books are classified at N-NX and shelved in the Central Library on Level 6. Photography, classified at TR, is on Level 4, and Aesthetics / Philosophy of Art (BH) is on Level 11

Reference books (dictionaries and encyclopedias) are borrowable and shelved at their call numbers with the other borrowable books. See also: art e-reference.

The Library of Congress classification system is used to organize the books. Each Library book has a call number showing where it is located, which can be found on its catalogue record.

Textbooks and recommended readings for particular courses are placed on High Demand by lecturers and located in the Self-Loan Area on Level 2. To see the list for a particular course, type the course code into the Course code search box in the Catalogue, or refer to the course page in Learn

Macmillan Brown Library

Many books, slim exhibition catalogues, and other resources for New Zealand and Pacific art are located in the Macmillan Brown Library. Library staff in the MB Library can help you with accessing any material held there.

Guide to classifications for Art

N Visual arts in general
  See also NX: The Arts (general)
N 1-8 Periodicals. Serials
N 31-34 Encyclopedias, dictionaries, terminology
N 61-72 Theory of visual arts
N 81-390 Study and teaching. Research
N 400-3990 Art museums, galleries, etc.
N 4390-5098 Exhibitions
N 5200-5299

Private collections and collectors

N 5300-7418 History of visual arts (general)
N 5310-5310.5 Prehistoric art
N 5311-5313 Primitive art. Folk art
N 5315-5899 Ancient art. Artistic archaeology
N 5963-6311 Medieval art
N 6370-6375 Renaissance art. 16th century
N 6410-6415 17th century
N 6420-6425 18th century
N 6447 19th & 20th centuries (combined)
N 6450-6465 19th century
N 6485-6494 20th century
N 6494

Aspects or movements, A-Z, eg. Abstraction

N 6501-7413 Art by country or region (general)
N 6505-6538 United States
N 6761-6797 Great Britain
N 6841-6853 France
N 6843 Medieval. Gothic. Romanesque
N 6844 Modern French art (general)
N 6845 14th-16th centuries
N 6846-6846.5 17th-18th centuries
N 6847-6847.5 19th century
N 6848-6848.5 20th century
N 6849 Special divisions, A-Z
N 6850 Paris
N 6853 French artists, A-Z
N 6853 .P5 Picasso
  NB: This pattern of subdivisions for France is repeated similarly for other countries (also under the various art media divisions NA-NK)
N 6861-6888 Germany
N 6911-6923 Italy
N 6935-6973 Netherlands (Holland). Flanders. Belgium
N 6953 Dutch artists, A-Z
N 6981-6999 Russia / USSR
N 7001-7093 Scandinavia
N 7101-7113 Spain
N 7300-7310.8 India. South Asia
N 7340-7349 China
N 7350-7359 Japan
N 7380-7399 Africa
N 7400-7405 Australia
N 7406-7408 New Zealand
N 7410-7413

Pacific Islands

N 7420-7525.8 General works on art, incl. technique & composition
N 7475-7483 Art criticism
N 7560-8266 Special subjects of art
N 7570-7624 Human figure. Portraits
N 7710-7760 Allegories. Symbolism. Mythology
N 7810-8189 Christian art
N 8190-8199 Art of other religions
N 8350-8356 Art as a profession. Artists
N 8354 Women as artists
N 8600-8675 Economics of art, including art dealers
N 8700-9165 Art and the state. Public art
N 8790


NA Architecture
NA 1-6 Periodicals
NA 31 Encyclopedias, dictionaries, terminology
NA 190-1555.5 History of architecture
NA 210-340 Ancient
NA 350-489 Medieval, incl. Byzantine, Islamic, Romanesque, Gothic
NA 500-682 Modern
NA 590 Baroque. Rococo
NA 600 Neoclassicism
NA 610 Gothic Revival
NA 645-670 19th century
NA 680-682 20th century
NA 700-1613 By country or region
NA 705-737 United States
NA 961-997 Great Britain
NA 1550-1559 Japan
NA 1606-1608 New Zealand  
NA 1995-1997 Architecture as a profession
NA 2000-2320 Study and teaching. Research
NA 2500-2599 General works. Theory, aesthetics, etc.
NA 2695-2793 Architectural drawing and design
NA 2840-4050 Details and decoration
NA 4100-8480 Special classes of buildings, incl. public, domestic, etc.
NA 9000-9428 Aesthetics of cities. City planning and beautifying
NA 9320-9425

Ornamental structures (monuments, etc.)

NB Sculpture
NB 60-1115 History of sculpture
NB 185-198 Modern
NB 198 20th century
NB 201-1114 By country or region
NB 1080-1099 Africa
NB 1106-1108 New Zealand
NB 1135-1150 General works on sculpture
NB 1170-1195


NC Drawing. Graphic design. Illustration
NC 50-266 History of drawing
NC 80-95 Modern
NC 95 20th century
NC 101-376 By country or region
NC 372-374 New Zealand
NC 703-725 General works. Theory of design
NC 730-758 Drawing technique
NC 760-825 Special subjects (anatomy, etc.)
NC 960-996 Illustration
NC 997-1003 Commercial art. Advertising art
NC 1300-1766 Pictorial humour, caricature, etc.
NC 1800-1896

Posters, postcards, etc.

ND Painting
ND 34-38 Biography (collective)
ND 40-47 Painting catalogues and indexes
ND 49-813 History of painting
ND 160-196 Modern
ND 170 Renaissance
ND 180-188 17th-18th centuries
ND 190-192 19th century
ND 192 .I4 Impressionism
ND 195-196 20th century
ND 196 .A2 Abstract painting
ND 201-1114 By country or region
ND 541-553 France
ND 553 .P5 Picasso
ND 1106-1108 New Zealand
ND 1130-1156 General works on painting
ND 1288-1460 Special subjects, incl. figure, portraits, landscape, etc.
ND 1470-1625 Painting technique and materials, incl. colour, manuals
ND 1700-2495 Watercolour painting
ND 2092 New Zealand
ND 2550-2733 Mural painting
ND 2560-2590 History of mural painting
ND 2601-2876 Mural painting by country
ND 2755-2757 Italy
ND 2889-3416 Illuminating of manuscripts and books
ND 2900-3294 History
ND 3001-3294 By country
ND 3345-3399

Special illuminated works, incl. Bibles; Books of hours

NE Print media
NE 400-773 History of printmaking
NE 430-492 Modern printmaking
NE 501-794 By country or region
NE 771-773 Japan (see also: NE 1310-1326.5)
NE 792 New Zealand
NE 850-898 General works on printmaking
NE 1030-1352 Wood engraving
NE 1310-1326.5 Japanese wood engraving
NE 1330-2505

Other techniques, incl. linocuts, intaglio, etching, etc.

NK Decorative arts
NK 28-30 Encyclopedias and dictionaries
NK 600-1094 History
NK 775-789 19th-20th centuries
NK 801-1094 By country or region (incl. folk art)
NK 928-942 Great Britain
NK 942 .M8 William Morris
NK 1091-1092 New Zealand
NK 1100-1133 General works, incl. industrial design
NK 1135-1149.5 Arts and Crafts Movement
NK 1160-1590 Design. Decoration and ornament
NK 1401-1496 Design by country or region
NK 1493 New Zealand
NK 1505-1525 Design theory. General works on design
NK 1700-2195 Interior decoration. House decoration
NK 2200-3640 Furniture, rugs, tapestries, wallpapers, alphabets, etc.
NK 3700-4695 Ceramics, incl. ancient Greek pottery & vases
NK 4700-4890 Costume and its accessories
NK 5100-5440 Glass, incl. stained glass & glass painting
NK 5500-6050 Glyptic arts (carving or engraving of gems, etc.)
NK 6400-8459 Metalwork, incl. jewelry, bronzes, etc.
NK 8800-9505.5 Textile arts
NK 9600-9955

Woodwork incl. wood carving

NX The arts (general)
  NB: Works classified at NX, rather than at N (visual arts in general), concern the visual arts plus other arts forms, such as music, literature and/or film
NX 163-164 The arts as a profession. Artists
NX 165 Psychology of the arts and the artist
NX 170-175 Interrelationships among the arts
NX 180 The arts in relation to other subjects, A-Z
NX 180 .F4 Feminism
NX 180 .M3 Mass media
NX 180 .S6 Society. Culture
NX 180 .T4 Technology
NX 420-430 Exhibitions. Festivals of the arts
NX 440-458 History of the arts
NX 456-458 20th century
NX 456.5 .P66 Postmodernism
NX 501-596 The arts by country or region
NX 593 New Zealand
NX 600 Arts movements, A-Z
NX 600 .S9 Surrealism
NX 650 Subjects or topics in the arts, A-Z
NX 652 Characters, classes of persons, etc., in the arts
NX 700-750 Patronage of the arts

Central Library layout

Click here to see floor plans for each level of the Puaka-James Hight Library.

Browse the catalogue

To browse titles by subject in the catalogue, click a classification no. link in the Guide (below), or use the Call Number (LC) index (find it in the Search drop-down menu). Eg., N 6841 = French art (general).

NB: To retrieve records for e-books, use Multisearch and refine results to (1) Book / eBook, and (2) Full Text Online.

Items in Storage

Some older or less frequently used books and paper journals are held in Storage. These can be browsed in person by appointment.

To make an appointment, please email library staff 

New Zealand sculpture

How are the books on NZ sculpture organized?

  • NZ sculpture (general): NB 1106
  • NZ exhibitions (general): NB 1106.4     
  • 20th century (general): NB 1106.5     
  • 21st century (general): NB 1106.7     
  • NZ exhibitions by locality: NB 1107        
  • Individual NZ sculptors: NB 1108               
  • e.g., Andrew Drummond: NB 1108 .D82