Conway Library - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Conway Library

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Conway Library


Courtauld Image Libraries

Conway Library

Opening times: Monday to Friday 13:00 to 17:30 (last admission 17:00).

The Witt and Conway Libraries are located at our Somerset House campus

Finding the image libraries during Courtauld Connects

Please note that the entrance to the Institute has moved. Walking under the canopy leading from the Strand, passing the old Institute entrance on your left, turn left towards the King’s College Campus. Enter the last door on your left and reception staff will direct you to down to the Witt and Conway Libraries.

The nucleus of the Conway Library is the private collection of Lord Conway of Allington, which came to The Courtauld Institute in 1932. Since then the library has been developed continuously as a teaching and research collection. It now contains over one million images: photographs and cuttings of architecture, architectural drawings and publications, sculpture (approximately 10,000 sculptors are represented), ivories, seals, metalwork, manuscript illumination, stained glass, wall paintings, panel paintings and textiles. Images are mounted on card and housed in boxes on open shelves.

Separate from the main library sequence and accessible by arrangement are the Conway’s holdings of historic photographs (mostly of architecture) and the late Edward B. Garrison’s collection of photographs of pre-1300 Italian painting.

Since its inception 75 years ago at The Courtauld, the library has been built up by various means. Its stock of original photographs has been increased by donation and purchase of negatives, and the library has initiated much photography in Britain and abroad with the involvement of staff photographers. A large number of the photographs are the work of graduate students whose informed insights make the library an especially valuable instrument of research.

Organisation of the main sections of the library:

Pre-1800 (1830 for Britain), 19th century, 20th century, 21st century, and within each by location.

Architectural drawings
By century, school and artist.

Architectural publications
By century of publication, country of publication and name of designer.

By century, school and artist.

By century, school and book type.

The website: includes approximately 3% of the Conway Library’s images, selected from the architecture and sculpture sections and from the collection of historic photographs.

Access and Opening Times

Access to the Conway and Witt Libraries is by reader’s card, arranged on arrival. Cards are available at £5.00 for six months (£3.50 for Courtauld alumni and Friends of The Courtauld), £3.00 for one month, or £2.00 for one day or one single visit. Please note that fees are payable in cash only.

Members of The Courtauld’s Samuel Courtauld Society (including Associates, Patrons and Director’s Circle members) receive complimentary entry and simply use their regular membership cards to gain access.

The Witt Library is open Monday to Friday from 13:00 to 17:30 (last admission 17:00). The Witt Library is at the Institute’s Somerset House campus: Somerset House, the Strand, London WC2R 0RN.



+44 (0)20 3947 7633

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