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Art and Architecture: Finding images

Oxford collections

Oxford online collections

Ashmolean Museum, Eastern Art Online (Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art) Extremely high quality images of objects in the Ashmolean Museum's Eastern Art Department collections. Multiple views of each object.
Ashmolean Museum, Elements of Drawing John Ruskin's teaching collection at Oxford.

Ashmolean Museum, Western Art Drawings Online Images of all the Italian, French, French Ornament and Russian drawings, as well as some of the English and German drawings held by the Western Art Department’s Print Room, Ashmolean Museum.
Ashmolean Museum, Western Art Paintings Online Images of the Paintings Collection held by the Western Art Department, Ashmolean Museum.
Bodleian Libraries Special Collections Approx. 35,000 images from a large variety of Bodleian Special Collections resources.
John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera (Bodleian Library) Collection comprises printed ephemeral materials (eg. posters, playbills) dating from the 18th century to 1939.  It is partly accessible online. Images can be found through:

Further information on the John Johnson Collection:

Visual Resources Centre, History of Art Department Holds over 90,000 35mm slides of art and architecture from classical antiquity to the present day. There is also a rare collection of over 65,000 glass lantern slides from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. A significant proportion of this focuses on architecture.

Oxford-plus image collections

ARTstor (restricted access to Oxford University domain) Union collection of image collections worldwide. Approaching 1,000,000 images covering all periods, all geographic areas and all types of art, architecture and archaeology as well as other subject areas in the Humanities, Social Sciences and History of Medicine and Science. Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives, including the Bodleian’s Western Manuscripts and Incunabula collection. All periods, all geographic areas.
Bridgeman Education (restricted access to Oxford University domain) 300,000+ images of objects, including from Oxford museums, galleries and private collections as well as buildings and monuments.
Art UK (Public Catalogue Foundation & BBC) Digitised images of UK public collections of oil paintings, ranging from large national art galleries to small local museums. Includes Oxford's university and college collections (ongoing).

VADS (Visual Arts Data Service) Union collection of UK-based image collections (although not all the objects are British). Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives, including the Bodleian’s John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera and the Oxford Portraits Collection. Periods covered: Medieval – Modern.

Selected image databases

Restricted access

  • ARTstor Union collection of image collections worldwide. Approaching 1,000,000 images covering all periods, all geographic areas and all types of art, architecture and archaeology as well as other subject areas in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Hisitory of Medicine and Science. Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives, including the Bodleian’s Western Manuscripts and Incunabula collection. All periods, all geographic areas.
    NOTE: You may be asked to confirm this as a Trusted Site. Click the  "YES" button several times to confirm access.
  • Berg Fashion Library Provides integrated text and image content on world dress and fashion throughout history.
  • Bridgeman Education 300,000+ images of objects from museums, galleries and private collections, as well as buildings and monuments. Images cover visual culture worldwide, from pre-History to the present day. Media covered include photography, fine art, engravings, sculpture, architecture, the decorative arts, artefacts and applied arts. It addresses the interests of such disciplines as art, architecture, archaeology, anthropology, & ethnography, history, science & medicine. All periods, all geographic areas.
    NOTE: LOGIN & PASSWORD BOX NOT NECESSARY. Oxford University access is automatic from within the University domain.
  • Index of Medieval Art (ICA, Princeton University) Bibliographic and iconographic index to images of Late Antique and Medieval art objects, to 1400 C.E. Image access is gradually being incorporated, beginning with the illuminated manuscript holdings of the Morgan Library, New York. NOTE: Only a part of the Index is available online.The rest (with its original photographs) is located physically at Princeton.
  • Parker Library (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, UK) Digitised manuscripts (some with illuminations).
  • Vogue Archive (Vogue America) Complete searchable archive of American Vogue, from the first issue in 1892 to the current month, reproduced in high-resolution color page images. Every page, advertisement, cover and fold-out has been included, with rich indexing enabling you to find images by garment type, designer and brand names.

Open access

     Architecture

     Image-sharing collectives

  • Flickr Commons Access to many of the world's public photography archives. Participants include the National Galleries of Scotland, the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and New York Public Library.
  • Wikimedia Commons Media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content. Includes images, and sound and video clips. 

     Library collections & photo archives

  • Arachne Object database of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne.
    Includes iDAI.images/Arachne.
  • Archivio Storico Istituto Luce Photographs and film footage documenting events and a changing society in C20th Italy, from L.U.C.E. (L'Unione Cinematografica Educativa, founded in 1924).
  • Art and Architecture (Courtauld Institute, London) Originating with the Courtauld Institute’s multiple image archives, provides access to more than 40,000 images, plus a network of over half a million links.
  • British Cartoon Archive (Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury) The BCA holds the artwork for more than 150,000 British editorial, socio-political, and pocket, comic strips, newspaper cuttings, books and magazines.
  • Corsair (Morgan Library, New York) Access to 15,000+ digitized images from the Morgan's collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Users may page through every illustrated leaf within a manuscript, or search for individual images by place or date of creation, artist's name, illustration type, and subject.
  • Country Life Archive  Full text and images (1897 to 2005) of the weekly British culture and lifestyle magazine, Country Life, focusing on fine art and architecture, the great country houses, and rural living. Every page is fully searchable, and reproduced high resolution.
  • Country Life Picture Library Images of country houses and gardens, interiors and architectural details, historic buildings and churches from the photo-archive of Country Life magazine. All images reference the original Country Life articles for which they were commissioned.
  • Eastern Art Online (Ashmolean Museum) Online access to extremely high quality images of objects in the Ashmolean Museum's Eastern Art Department collections.
  • Enluminures (Ministère de la Culture and Institut de recherche d'histoire des textes, CNRS, Paris) 120 000 images from 5,000+ medieval manuscripts held by French municipal libraries.
  • Fondazione Zeri -- Fototeca (University of Bologna) Access to the photographic collection (ca. 200,000 images) assembled by art historian and connoisseur Fererico Zeri. The photographs document mainly Italian art, not only located in Italy but also elsewhere.
  • Frick Digital Image Archive (Frick Art Reference Library, New York) 15,000 images of works of art photographed between 1922 and 1967 in private homes and small public collections throughout the US.
  • Gothic Ivories Project (Courtauld Institute, London) Database of ivory sculptures made in Western Europe ca. 1200-ca. 1530, plus neo-Gothic ivory pieces. Objects & images come from a variety of institutions worldwide.
  • George Clarke Print Collection (Worcester College, Oxford) Comprises approx. 8,000 prints bequeathed to Worcester College by George Clarke (1661-1736). Include views, buildings and gardens, interior decoration and ornament, portraits, paintings and antiquities.
  • Gallica Bibliothèque Nationale de France Documents and images from the Bibliothèque Nationale.
  • Hoover Institution Political Poster Database (Stanford University) Images of the Hoover Institution’s posters collection assembled from around the world. Most of the posters convey a clearly political message, but others (e.g. those promoting tourism) are also included.
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC, Washington, DC) Catalogue records and digital images of still pictures held by the Library’s Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units. Includes  photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the United State and its inhabitants.
  • Life Photo Archive Images from the archive of Life magazine. Major areas covered: People, Places, Events, Sports and Culture.
  • National Gallery of Art Library's online catalogue (Washington, DC) 
  • NYPL’s Digital Gallery 700,000+ images digitized from New York Public Library's vast collections; includes illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, photographs, etc.
  • Photographic Portraits of American Artists (Smithsonian Institution, US) 4,700 photographs of artists working in the United States during the first three quarters of the twentieth century. Created by the fine art photography firm Peter A. Juley & Son (active 1896-1975). Includes portraits of individual artists as well as group photos taken at the National Academy of Design, the Art Students League and at various artists’ colonies.
  • VADS (Visual Arts Data Service) Union collection of UK-based image collections (although not all the objects are British). Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives, including the Bodleian’s John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera and the Oxford Portraits Collection. Periods covered: Medieval – Modern.
  • Wellcome Images Thousands of images from the Wellcome Trust's collections. Subjects covered range from history of science and medicine, social history to magic and alchemy. Includes many Western art paintings and prints; and some Sanscrit manuscripts, Buddhist paintings and Persian books. 
     

     Museum & art gallery collections

     Other image collections