Online databases and resources - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Online databases and resources

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Online databases and resources



Online databases and resources
Sem título, 1958 (woodcut on paper), Pape, Lygia (1929-2004) / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA / The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art, museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Foundation / Bridgeman Images
Portrait of Zulekha Banu of Dhaka, ca. 1918. Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion South Asia and Southeast Asia
Bowditch Alphabet, Danh Vo, 2010. Bridgeman images.
Manuscript 1511, Morgan Library New York. Index of Medieval Art.
Sem título, 1958 (woodcut on paper), Pape, Lygia (1929-2004) / Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA / The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art, museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Foundation / Bridgeman Images
Portrait of Zulekha Banu of Dhaka, ca. 1918. Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion South Asia and Southeast Asia
Bowditch Alphabet, Danh Vo, 2010. Bridgeman images.
Manuscript 1511, Morgan Library New York. Index of Medieval Art.

Articles, images, e-books, videos and more

The Book Library provides access to a large collection of online resources for Courtauld students and staff, essential for learning, teaching and research. Use the lists below to link to resources; our own subscription resources, those that have been made temporarily available during closure, and those that are fully open access.

The vast majority of resources are available on and off campus. Remote access is usually through Athens. Find out more about accessing online resources from home in the ‘Top Tips from the Book Library’ video #1 on our Digital and Information Skills page.

All Courtauld students and staff are eligible for Senate House Library membership, enabling access to SHL’s vast online resources collection. A link to remote registration is provided on the Library page of the Courtauld VLE.

17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers  (Gale Cengage Learning, via JISC)
The largest single collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century English news media available from the British Library

19th Century UK Periodicals  (Gale Cengage Learning, via JISC)
Fully searchable nineteenth century periodical literature of exceptional range and diversity

A&AePortal  (Yale)
A rich resource of ebooks and images originating from important art and architecture scholarship from leading university and museum publishers including out of print publications

Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon Online (De Gruyter) **We subscribe to AKL in print, but we have trial access for the online version until September 2020**
(The world’s most extensive reference work on artists, containing authoritative, up-to-date biographical information on more than 1.2 million artists.)

Art & Architecture  (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Over 40,000 images from the Courtauld collections including the Courtauld Gallery and the Conway Library

Art & Architecture Source  (EBSCOhost)
With strong international coverage this offers the largest full-text art research database of journals, magazines and books as well as detailed indexing and abstracts and thousands of images.

Art and Architecture Archive (ProQuest)
A comprehensive primary source collection of periodicals from 1860 onwards, broad in scope and enabling detailed full text research

Art, Design and Architecture Collection (ProQuest)
Provides content from specialist indexes including ArtBibliographies Modern (ABM), The Design and Applied Arts Index (DAAI) and The International Bibliography of Art (IBA) as well as access to over 500 titles in Art & Humanities Full Text.

Art History Research Net(AHR net)
(Formerly known as Arts:Search)

Art Sales Catalogues Online 


Artifex Press Catalogues

Asia Art Archive
(Open Access)

Berg Fashion Library 

BHA – Bibliography of the History of Art

Bridgeman Education 
(Bridgeman Art Library)

British Library EThOS 
(Open access)

British Library Newspapers 
(Gale Cengage Learning, via JISC)

British Periodicals 
(ProQuest, via JISC)

C19: The Nineteenth Century Index 

Cambridge Companions
(Cambridge Unieversity Press)

Chicago Manual of Style

Country Life Archive 

Courtauld Institute of Art Research Portal

Critical Collective

DawsonEra Ebooks *July 2020: the future of this platform is uncertain. Click on title for updates*

Design Abstracts Retrospective 
(AHR net)

Ebook Central 

EEBO – Early English Books Online 
(JISC eCollections)

Early European Books Online
(ProQuest, via JISC)

Gale Primary Sources

Harper’s Bazaar Archive 

Humanities Source Ultimate (EBSCOhost)

Index of Medieval Art

ITER – Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance

JISC Historical Texts
(JISC eCollections) Contains EEBO (Early English Books Online), ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online) and BL 19th Century (British Library 19th Century Collection).

JISC Journal Archives 
(JISC eCollections)

(including link to the JSTOR Auction Catalogs – Beta)


(Gale Cengage Learning, via JISC)

Oxford Art Online 
(incorporates Grove Art Online and Benezit Dictionary of Artists)

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford English Dictionary Online

Oxford Reference Online

Periodicals Archive Online 
(ProQuest, via JISC)

ProQuest Resources

(AHR net)

South Asia Archive*Trial access until 5th July 2020*
(Taylor & Francis) After ‘Sign in’ select the ‘Sign in via Shibboleth’ option and use your Athens account.

Vogue Archive 
(ProQuest, via JISC)

Vogue Italia Archive 
(ProQuest, via JISC)

Women’s Magazine Archive 

Women’s Wear Daily 

In response to the closure of libraries worldwide, publishers and libraries have been working together to provide access to additional online resources whilst students are unable to access physical collections.  These extra resources are listed below.  Please note that access is temporary and will expire on the dates indicated.

Some resources are available fully open access and some will be for current subscribers with remote access done via Athens in the usual way.

For any questions on access or finding materials please contact us at


British History Online has made a further 200 volumes available on open access in addition to the 1000 volumes of material which are already freely available. Extra content available until 30th September 2020


JSTOR has made its entire journal content holdings available to institutions that already subscribe to JSTOR content packages. More than 25,000 e-books titles have also be made available. Please access JSTOR in the usual way, signing in with your Athens credentials; open access material has been integrated into other content. JSTOR have also made available on fully open access current research on COVID-19 and public health.  Expanded access to book collections available until 31st August 2020.  Extra journal content available until 31st December 2020


Kanopy has expanded the collection of films available free of charge to institutions. Already added are all films in The Great Courses series. No end date to access announced


The MuseumsEtc Collection comprises almost 70 titles, and has been made available to us via Exact Editions until 1st November 2020. The collections shares innovation in museum practice worldwide, drawing on the international experience of hundreds of leading museums and galleries in such key areas as inclusion, interpretation, learning, management, new media, and visitor engagement. Follow the links to login via your institution, and then sign in with your Athens credentials. Available until 1st November 2020


Senate House Extra Resources During Closure: All students and staff are entitled to membership of Senate House Library to gain access to their electronic resources. Their providers, just like ours, are making additional content available during this period. You may find it helpful to look at their libguide for online resources, which includes both their usual resources and new/trial/temporary resources.


University of California Press are making their journal content freely available. This includes Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, Classical Antiquity, Feminist Media Histories: An International JournalFilm Quarterly, Journal of Medieval Worlds, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture and Studies in Late Antiquity: A JournalAvailable until early July 2020


The National Archives – available until their site at Kew re-opens to the public

While their Kew site is closed, users can download digital content (over 9 million records are downloadable) for free. Users just need to create a personal account to search and retrieve content via the Discovery service.


Library Hub Discover

Changes have been made during this period so that search results show open access materials first – with online and print following. More information about these changes is available here.
Access the Library Hub Discover portal.


AA Photo Library
(Database of photographic images by the Architectural Association School of Architecture)

American Center of Oriental Research Archive (ACOR)
(A photographic archive of thousands of rare photos of Jordan and the Middle East and North Africa region available online for research and educational use. Based in Amman, Jordan.)

Art & Architecture
(Database of images from The Courtauld Institute of Art Collections)

Art UK
(Successor to BBC: Your Paintings, Art UK is the online home for every public art collection in the UK)

Bassano Fashion Photography
(Collection of images documenting clothing, fashion and accessories taken at the studios of Bassano Limited in early twentieth century London – Particularly useful for History of Dress students) 

British Museum Collection Online
(Unparalleled access to objects in the collection, including the British Museum’s large collection of prints and drawings)

British Printed Images to 1700
(Digital library of prints and book illustrations from early modern Britain)

(Brings together portions of the Bodleian libraries’ collections)

The Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture
(Identifies, records, and publishes English sculpture dating from the 7th to the 11th centuries)

The Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA)
(A British Academy Research Project, hosted by the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York, including a digital picture archive containing more than 28,000 images)

The Elements of Drawing: John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford
(John Ruskin’s teaching collection: images and catalogues, including his notes and instructions)

(Access to over 50 million digitised items comprising cultural material from Europe’s institutions)

The Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections
(Images from GSA’s wide ranging collections and institutional archive)

Google Arts and Culture
(Content from over 2000 leading museums and archives who have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute)

Gothic Ivories
(Launched in October 2008 at the Courtauld Institute of Art : consists of an online database of ivory sculptures made in Western Europe ca. 1200-ca.1530, as well as neo-Gothic pieces)

Historic England
(Access to photographs, plans and drawings in their public archive, covering the historic environment of England)

Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS) (formerly Church Plans Online)
(An online image system containing selected images from the Library’s collections)

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
(Online image collection)

The Machiel Kiel Photographic Archive 
(Netherlands Institute in Turkey have made available around 1800 images from this archive comprising Ottoman-Islamic architectural monuments in the Southeast-European countries, Ottoman monuments located in Turkish Thrace and Ottoman architectural monuments in the Balkans )

Manar al-Athar
(Based at the University of Oxford, this is a free image resource for the study of the Middle East)

Mandragore : base iconographique du département des Manuscrits
(Over 170,000 records relating to works preserved in the Manuscript Department and the Arsenal Library)

Manuscripta Mediaevalia
(Manuscript portal that gives access to western manuscripts (or catalogues of those manuscripts) from mostly German libraries)

Manuscripts Online
(Enables you to search a diverse body of online primary resources relating to written and early printed culture in Britain during the period 1000 to 1500)

The MET Collection
(More than 406,000 hi-res images of public-domain works in The Met collection)

National Gallery Picture Library
(Enables a search of more than 2600 paintings in the collection)

The paintings, watercolours and drawings of Paul Cézanne: an online catalogue raisonné
(The first compilation of the artist’s complete works since Lionello Venturi’s 1936 oeuvre catalogue) 

Réunion des musées nationaux : agence photographique
(Produces the photo inventory of collections kept in the national museums of France with access to over 430,000 images)

(Visual archive of over 100,000 digital images from the collections of the British Architectural Library: Library of the Royal Institute of British Architects)

The Rose Window
(Begun in 2008, and now has over 40,000 images of stained glass at nearly 500 locations, mostly in England, France, and Italy.)

Smithsonian Open Access
(Access to nearly 3 million 2D and 3D digital items from the Smithsonian collections)

Studio Museum in Harlem collection
(The permanent collection represents more than 600 artists, spans 200 years of history and includes over 2,500 works of art; the online collection represents the early stages of a long-term project to prompt a new era of exploration and presentation)


VADS: the Online Resource for Visual Arts
(A portfolio of visual art collections comprising over 140,000 images compiled by the Visual Arts Data Service)

Web Gallery of Art
(A somewhat dated but very comprehensive virtual museum and searchable database of European fine arts from the 3rd to 19th centuries)

York Minster Stained Glass Navigator
(Providing public access to high-resolution photography undertaken by the York Glaziers Trust on behalf of the Chapter of York, of the Minster’s Great East Window and the St Cuthbert’s window)



Courtauld Books Online
(A series of online scholarly books published by The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
(Thirteen open access books published by Sternberg Press and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)

Guggenheim Museum Publications
(The Guggenheim Museum offers open access to many of it’s exhibition catalogues and art publications via the Internet Archive)

(A small selection of books from the Museum’s press are fully open access, but most can be previewed – with generous extracts (at least one essay or chapter) often provided)

Punctum Books
(Independent open access publisher, particularly strong on cultural studies)

Walker Art Center Living Collections
(A large online publishing project, in three volumes so far, on modern and contemporary art: On Performativity; Art Expanded, 1958-78; Collaborative Artistic Practices, 1960s-80s)


Audio visual

(Extensive resource for exploring British based artists’ film and video in-depth)

UbuWeb: Film & Video
(Presents thousands of avant-garde films and videos covering a huge number of artists)

Online journals

1000 Words Photography: Contemporary Photography Magazine Online
(Leading online contemporary photography magazine. It commissions and publishes exhibition and photo book reviews, essays and interviews. From 2008 to date)

(South Africa’s leading contemporary visual arts publication, reporting on the national arts scene and the involvement of South African artists in the international art world)

British Art Studies
(Provides new peer-reviewed scholarship on all aspects of British art, architecture, and visual culture co-published by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Yale Center for British Art. Issue 1 (2015) to date)

CeROArt – Conservation, exposition, Restauration d’Objets d’Art
(Webjournal and platform for pluridisciplinary approaches in issues of conservation, exhibition and conservation of works of art. Issue 1 (2007) to date)

Colnaghi Studies Journal 
(Publishes texts on significant pre-twentieth-century artworks in the European tradition that have recently come to light or about which new research is underway, as well as on the history of their collection. Issue 1 (2017) to date)

Contemporary Aesthetics
(International, interdisciplinary, peer- and blind-reviewed open-access online journal of contemporary theory, research, and application in aesthetics. Vol. 1 (2003) to date)

Crossings: Electronic Journal of Art & Technology
(Peer-reviewed multidisciplinary academic journal that aims to explore the areas where technology and art intersect. Vol. 1 (2001) – vol. 6 (2012) 

Ctrl+P: Journal of Contemporary Art
(Designed to be widely shared, this unique critical art publication, founded in 2006 and produced in Manila, is unrestricted by a publication schedule and each issue is uploaded as soon as enough content is submitted)

Digital Medievalist 

Directory of Open Access Journals
(Online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals) 

eHumanista : journal of Medieval and early modern Iberian studies

Etudes photographiques
(Published by the Société française de photographie this journal looks at the history of photography and visual culture. No. 1 (1996) – no. 35 (2017)

Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index
(Covers journal articles, book reviews, and essays in books about women, sexuality, and gender during the Middle Ages. A dated-looking website, but new content is still being added and the quality is good)

Feminist Africa
(Cutting-edge, informative and provocative African scholarship attuned to feminist agendas)

The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe
(Focuses on literary, historical, folkloric studies and the material culture that underpins the period from the beginning of the fourth century to the beginning of the thirteenth century. Issue 3 (2000) to date)

Hortulus : the online graduate journal of Medieval studies 

Independent Voices
(Collection of alternative press, newspapers, magazines and journals produced by groups who wanted their voices heard outside the mainstream in the latter part of the twentieth century)

Journal18 – A journal of eighteenth-century art and culture
(The first journal dedicated to the field of eighteenth-century art history, publishing thematic issues of articles investigating all aspects of eighteenth-century visual and material culture. Issue 1 (2016) to date)

Journal of Art Historiography
(Cross-disciplinary  journal dedicated to the self-critical exploration of art history as a methodological practice. Issue 1 (Dec 2009) to date)

Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art
(Peer reviewed journal focussing on art (and related disciplines) produced in the Netherlands  during the early modern period (c.1400-c.1750), and in other countries and later periods as they relate to Netherlandish art. Vol.1 (2009) to date)

kunst texte
(Described as a journal on visual and art history, divided into, and published in, sections covering multi-disciplinary approaches and syntheses)

Marginalia : journal of the Medieval Reading Group at the University at Cambridge 

Medieval worlds
(Austrian Academy of Sciences)

The Modernist Journals Project
(Digital editions of culturally significant magazines from 1890 to 1922) 

National Gallery Technical Bulletin
(Leading publication based on the study of materials and techniques of painting and the scientific examinations of paintings. Vol.1 1977 to vol.36 2016 available for free download)

Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide: a Journal of Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture
(Scholarly, refereed journal devoted to the study of nineteenth-century painting, sculpture and graphic arts, photography, architecture, and decorative arts across the globe. Vol.1 (2002) to date)

PANORAMA: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art
(Peer-reviewed publication dedicated to American art and visual culture (broadly defined)  from the colonial period to the present day. Issue 1. (2015) to date)

Reading Medieval Studies 

RIHA Journal
(Launched by the International Association of Research Institutes in the History of Art, the journal is edited by 32 member institutes over 21 countries and appears in various languages, encouraging a broad and international approach to publishing art historical research)

Studio Magazine
(A leading art publication, from the Studio Museum in Harlem, with a focus on contemporary artists of African descent)

Tate Papers
(Journal publishing scholarly articles on British and modern international art, and on museum practice today with reference to but equally not limited to Tate’s collection. No. 1 (2004) to date)

Institutional repositories and theses

ART-Dok: Digital Repository Art History
(The publishing platform for providing access to 6,689 academic publications)

DEEP: Dart-Europe E-theses Portal
(A partnership of research libraries and library consortia maintaining a central portal for European e-thesis aggregation and access)

EBSCO OpenDissertations
This free database now incorporates EBSCO’s previously released American Doctoral Dissertations and provides researchers with access to records for more than 1.2 million electronic theses and dissertations from around the world spanning the early 20th century to the present.

EThOS ( Electronic Theses Online Service) 
(A British Library initiative which provides access to over 500,000 UK doctoral theses online)

Feminist Art Theses
(A pioneering resource with international scope making available PhD and MA theses written about feminist art and contemporary women artists)   

OpenDOAR: the directory of open access repositories
(An authoritative global directory enabling users to find institutional, subject-based or governmental repositories of open access material)

OPUS-Datenbank: Elektronische Hochschulschriften
(Hosted by the University Library of the Berlin University of the Arts this is their online publication platform for members of the university)

Other open access online resources

The Art World in Britain 1660 to 1735
(Primary sources and research tools for the study of art in late 17th and early 18th century Britain)

Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA) 1990-2007 and Répertoire international de la literature de l’art (RILA) 1975-1989
(Provided by the Getty Research Institute this combined database of the BHA and RILA covers European and American visual arts material including articles from over 1,200 journals )

Black Cultural Archives subject guides
(Each subject guide presents an historical overview, related items from the Black Cultural Archive’s collection and a bibliography to support further research)

British Art History Resources
(The Walpole Society offers a selective guide to freely available online resources for the study of the history of British art and architecture from earliest times to the 20th century)

British History Online
(Digital library bringing together material from the collections of libraries, archives, museums and academics spanning medieval to twentieth century content)

British Library’s Digital Collections
(Offering access to books, manuscripts, maps, scores, journals, research datasets, thesis and databases)

The Getty Provenance Index Databases
(Provides access to archival inventories, sales catalogues, and dealer stock books)

Global Social Theory
(A free resource for students, teachers, academics, and others interested in social theory and wishing to understand it in global perspective. It emerges from a long-standing concern with the parochiality of standard perspectives on social theory)

Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes (IRHT) (CNRS)
(Enables access to more than 72,000 digital reproductions of medieval manuscripts, produced by the IRHT or acquired from foreign libraries) 

International Foundation for Art Research
(Offers bibliographic databases: one of published catalogues raisonnés and one of catalogues in preparation plus information about collecting, provenance and art law and cultural property)

Internet Medieval Sourcebook
(Focuses on Medieval source documents with some additional resources including maps, secondary sources, bibliographies, images and music)

Italian Renaissance Learning Resources 
(A collaboration between the National Gallery of Art, Washington and Grove Art Online, this resource explores different themes in Italian Renaissance art including more than 300 images and 42 primary source texts)

(An organised links directory for the arts & humanities, listing selected open access or otherwise free e-journals)

Living Collections – Walker Art Center
(A large online publishing project, in three volumes so far, on modern and contemporary art: On Performativity; Art Expanded, 1958-78; Collaborative Artistic Practices, 1960s-80s)

Mapping Sculpture – Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951
(Database created from the first authoritative study of sculptors investigated in the context of creative collaborations, art infrastructures, professional networks and cultural geographies)

Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance
(Provides a searchable database of digital resources for medieval studies including texts, manuscript facsimiles, and many others)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Publications with Full-text Online
(Access to books, online publications, and Bulletins and Journals from the last five decades)

The Royal Academy Summer exhibition: a chronicle, 1769-2018
(Digital publication that explores the history of the Summer Exhibition including 250 digitised catalogues and essays)

Travel, Transculturality and Identity in England, 1550-1700
(TIDE is a 5-year European Research Council funded project that aims to investigate how mobility in the great age of travel and discovery shaped English perceptions of human identity based on cultural identification and difference.)

Understanding Slavery Initiative
(The Understanding Slavery initiative (USI) is a national learning project which supports the teaching and learning of transatlantic slavery and its legacies using museum and heritage collections)

Wayback Machine
(Archived webpages from Internet Archive)



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