Kurdistan in the 1940s

The Project Space
Nov 2021 – May 2022

20th Century British photographer Anthony Kersting, the most prolific and widely travelled architectural photographer of his generation, will be the subject of the inaugural display in the new Project Space when The Courtauld Gallery reopens.

Born in South London in 1916, Kersting documented his extensive travels across the Middle East throughout the 1940s and 50s. His archive of over 42,000 photographic prints and negatives were given to the Conway Library at The Courtauld upon his death in 2008.

20 compelling photographs from the collection documenting the life of the Yazidi community in Kurdistan, taken by Kersting on a trip in 1944, will go on display. The exhibition also includes portraits and city photography of Erbil, often considered the oldest continually inhabited place on earth, and the Mosque at Nebi Yunus, the burial place of Jonah destroyed by Isis in 2014.

The display will be the first to be presented in the Gallery’s new Project Space, a new room to spotlight smaller temporary projects that give visitors insight into The Courtauld’s broader teaching, conservation and research expertise.

The 1.1million photographs in the Conway Library – most of which have never been seen by the public – are currently undergoing a major volunteer-led digitisation project – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund – which will put these images, including Kersting’s, into the public domain.

This display is included in the admission ticket to The Courtauld Gallery. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear to about ticket announcements and more.

You might also like


We have partnered with national and international museums and galleries so more audiences can engage with our collection. ...