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Art and Architecture: Home

The Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library is the premier research library for the study of art, architecture and archaeology at Oxford. It incorporates multiple libraries previously housed in separate locations around the University.

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students and researchers studying Art and Architecture at the University of Oxford, although students and researchers from any field may find it useful.

Use this guide to find out about books and online resources for Art and Architecture, including ebooks, ejournals and bibliographic databases.

Finding books

Library resources for the study of art and architectural history are primarily housed in the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library. The Bodleian Library (including the History Faculty Library and the Weston Library), the Ruskin School of Art Library, the Continuing Education Library, and Balfour Library at the Pitt Rivers Museum also hold important art-related research materials. Other, more specialised, collections are to be found all over the University.

The Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library opened in 2001 as the Bodleian Libraries' premier open-stack research collection for art, architecture and archaeology at Oxford. It incorporates the collections of a number of formerly separately-housed university/departmental libraries and is consequently divided into various specialist collections: Ancient Near Eastern Studies and EgyptologyClassical Art and Archaeology, including Classics and Ancient HistoryByzantine Art and Architecture; the Art and Architecture of the Western European TraditionIslamic Art, Archaeology and ArchitectureEast and Southeast Asian Art, Archaeology and ArchitectureNumismaticsPapyrology. Publications are collected in all appropriate languages. Most of the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library’s holdings are on the online catalogue (SOLO). The majority of the Library's collections are borrowable; however, certain sections of the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library are confined to the Library and cannot be borrowed.

By virtue of its status as a copyright library, many UK publications on art and architecture arrive at the Bodleian Libraries  through the Legal deposit agreement. Some of these are transferred to the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World but, for reasons of space, many titles remain at the Offsite Facility. Please note that this facility is not open to readers.

Key journals

A lot of journals, as well as being available in print, are available online and can be searched via SOLO or eJournals A-Z. 

Key databases

Oxford subscribes to many databases. They can be used to locate journal articles, conference proceedings, books, patents, images, data and more. You can find some of the key databases for art and architecture below, but take a look at the databases tab of this guide for more titles.

You can also consult Databases A-Z and browse the University's subscriptions.

Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library Sub-Collections

The Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Library holds a number of different special collections including the Wind Collection, Haskell Collection, Rare Book Room, and Art, Archaeology and Ancient World Archives.

The Wind Room contains a closed-stack collection comprising (mostly) publications purchased by, or in memory of Oxford's first Professor of the History of Art, Edgar Wind (1900-1971), both for himself and also for the History of Art Department. While there is a strong focus on the art of Italy and on iconography and iconology (Wind was Erwin Panofsky’s first doctoral student), the collections reflect Professor Wind’s extremely broad research interests. New publications in Wind’s areas of interest continue to be collected. Early publications (15th - 18th centuries) are housed in the Wind Room itself with more recent publications housed either in the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World's open-stacks or at the Bodleian Libraries' offsite facility. Non-book materials relating to Edgar Wind during his Oxford years also may be found in other locations.

The Haskell Collection is a closed-stack collection of French salon criticism and rare auction catalogues. The French salon criticism collection was assembled by Francis Haskell (1928-2000), Oxford’s second Professor of the History of Art. It is a unique assemblage of original publications (some of which are in the Rare Book Room) and photocopies detailing the opinions of French salon critics 1700-1901. (Many of these sources are now publicly available on the web.) The collection is complemented by the Deloynes collection of 18th-early 19th century French art criticism (on microfiche); and also by the Taylor Institution Library holdings of works by French literary figures writing on art.

The Rare Book Room is a closed stack area containing most of the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World’s pre-1850 materials, as well as some more recent, valuable items. Titles are listed on SOLO and may be requested at the Art, Archaeology and Ancient World’s Ground Floor Help Desk.

Visual Culture Subject Librarian

Sarah Currant

Photo of Sarah Currant

Telephone: (0)1865 278094


Art and Architecture, Film Studies, Women's Studies

Key libraries

Key Libraries for Art and Architecture