From September 2020, admittance to the Witt and Conway Libraries is strictly by appointment only.
To keep everybody safe, we must limit the number of people in the Library at any one time. Please do not travel to the libraries without a confirmed booking. Bookings can be made via our booking page.
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 with the Witt Library and the Conway Library at Somerset House, and prints are available for study in the libraries of many universities and galleries in Europe and the United States. Well over 500 collections have been photographed, and the work of the Photographic Survey provides an invaluable resource for scholars and students of art history.
The majority of collections recorded by the Photographic Survey are those in country houses, with large numbers of portraits and Old Master paintings. Most of the photographs are of paintings, drawings and watercolours, but sculpture, architecture and architectural drawings are also included in the Photographic Survey. Copies of all photographs of paintings, drawings and sculptures are filed under the artists’ names or relevant section in the Witt Library and the Conway Library.
Using the Photographic Survey
Images from the Photographic Survey are open to all.