Photographic Survey - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Photographic Survey

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Photographic Survey


Courtauld Image Libraries

Photographic Survey

The Photographic Survey has been in existence since the early 1950s. It was founded in conjunction with the Frick Art Reference Library in New York in order to record the works of art in private collections in England, Wales and Ireland and to make their existence known to scholars. The photographs are housed in the Witt and Conway Libraries at The Courtauld Institute, and prints are available for study in the libraries of many universities and galleries in Europe and the United States which have subscribed to the Survey over the years. Well over five hundred collections have been photographed, and the work of the Photographic Survey provides an invaluable resource for scholars and students of Art History.

Most of the photographs are of paintings, drawings and watercolours, but sculpture, architecture and architectural drawings are also included in the Survey.


Collections photographed include those of the Duke of Devonshire, the Earl of Leicester and the Marquess of Bath; recent additions are the collections of the Duke of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle and Syon. There is a close relationship with the National Trust.

The majority of collections recorded by the Photographic Survey are those in country houses, with large numbers of portraits and Old Master paintings. More specialised collections include Old Master drawings, watercolours, sculpture and works by particular artists such as Leonid Pasternak or Stanley Spencer. In recent years it has become necessary for the locations and names of many collections to be kept confidential. Such collections are identified numerically, and the Survey acts as intermediary between scholar and owner.

Subscription Scheme

In return for a small subscription the Photographic Survey  has offered photographs from recently recorded collections at a reduced rate. This scheme is currently under review.

Access and Opening Times

The Photographic Survey collections are accessible by appointment, except when The Courtauld Institute of Art is closed at Christmas, Easter and Bank Holidays.


+44 (0) 20 7848 2617

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