Open access photography archive of British art now online

An open access photography archive of British art and architecture collected by the Paul Mellon Centre from 1964 is now available to browse online. It consists of photographs of works that were often behind closed doors of private houses and collections, and has a particular emphasis on 18th century art.

This historically important and visually rich collection has now been digitised, with typed and handwritten descriptive notations transcribed for searchability, and is available, free, online.

Many images are available for re-use through Creative Commons licenses, but please check before using  any images in this way.

Two Carib Women, A Child Holding The Hand Of One by Augustus Brunai from the Paul Mellon Photography Archive (image in the public domain CC0 1.0)













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VADS images resource new website 

Copyright free images

Directory of Photographic Collections in the U.K.

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Plant data

Plants of the World Online is an online database of digitised data of flora gathered over the last 250 years of botanical research. It was set up by Kew Gardens and contains data from them and their partners, including the taxonomy, identification, images, distribution, traits, threat status of plants worldwide.

Many of the images included are taken from scans of the plants from Kew’s Herbarium through their Herbarium Catalogue which includes items that have been dried or preserved over the last couple of centuries.

For example here is a scan of a Asplenium jacksonii 

It was announced yesterday (4th November) that the government is going to fund a £15 million project to further digitise the Herbarium collection and make it more accessible to researchers around the world, in the hope of revolutionising climate change research. So keep an eye out for further improvements!

Here is some information on digitising plant specimens from the Natural History Museum

Here is a link to GBIF—the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, which is an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, open access to data about all types of life on Earth.

image © copyright of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew












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Textile structures and resources

Knitting is not just for woolly jumpers, did you see the amazing talents of Margaret Seaman earlier this summer, who knitted an incredible version of the Queen’s Sandringham House ?

Or how about an architectural structure? This impressive project is created by knitting textiles with an industrial machine to form the basis of the concrete structure.

Have you taken up crochet over the various lock-downs? Or maybe you have just been knitting for years. Either way, if you are feeling inspired by these crafts, or other textile projects, the library has lots of resources that can help you.

Here is a list of some knitting resources available in the library, a mixture of physical books and e-books. E-books can be read on any device, you just need to log in with your username and password.

The Materials and Products Library is now open again in Aldgate Library, so be sure to check it out on the third floor, where you can browse and touch many different materials, including fabrics.

You can also access many online resources through the library catalogue (using username and password), including the Vogue Archive, which has many knitting patterns, including these stocking tops from 1899!

You can also access thousands of images and articles through JSTOR, for example here is a search for texiles in the image search (log in with username and password), and also Bridgman Education (images) – click here for images of covers of some very stylish knitting patterns.

This is just a selection, get in touch with your Academic Liaison Librarian if you want further information or help searching nay of the resources.

other resources:

Southampton Knitting Reference Library

V&A Knitting patterns

Internet archive crochet patterns


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Materials and Products

painting of a lady crocheting in a garden

Image from the public domain via Raw Pixel. ‘Lydia Crocheting in the Garden at Marly’ (1880) painting by Mary Cassatt. Original from The MET Museum. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.


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Artists’ Lives resource

Have you ever come across the Artists’ Lives resource from the British Library? It is a fantastic collection of aural interviews with artists where you can hear them talk about their lives, work, friendships and more.

It is a platform for British artists to create a record of their lives in their own words. The first recording was made in 1990, and is still ongoing.

If you have visited and enjoyed the Eileen Agar exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery recently, then how about listening to her talk about her life, as she was one of the first to be recorded in the 1990′s shortly before she died ? Click on this link  and you can find artists included in the A-Z by surname.

Find some more resources on Eileen Agar on the Tate website here.

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Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

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Olympic design resources

If the Olympics has got you all fired up and inspired, but in an artistic rather than a running kind of way, then check out the new theme in Bloomsbury Design Library:

‘Olympic Design: Visual identity, activism and designing to define a nation‘ has free chapters and articles from across the platform  on this theme, including on such things as:

  • The history of Japanese design
  • The Tokyo 1964 Olympics
  • Design activism and resistance
  • Yusaku Kamekura graphic designer for the 1964 Olympics
  • Learn about pong and how it shaped a new gaming experience

You can access this as well as a wealth of further design related resources by logging into Bloomsbury Design Library with your university username and password through the library catalogue.

Search the library catalogue for other Olympic themed items, click here to see a list


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Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay


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The School of Art, Architecture and Design Summer Show now live online!

Once again our students from the School of Art, Architecture and Design bowl us over with their creativity during another crazy year! Check out all the work they have been doing on the online platform ‘Liveness’, live until 10th July.

Disciplines represented in the LIVENESS show will include Architecture, Fashion, Fine Art, Furniture and Product, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Jewellery, Photography and Textiles and more. There will also be a programme of live events, so be sure to have a good exploration of the site.

Alongside this, BA Photography students have on online show ‘Strange Days’ , which can also be viewed.

Congratulations to all our hard working talented students!









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Fine Art Spring show now live online

London Met School of Art, Architecture and Design BA Fine Art students, Level 4 and level 5, spring show is now live online.

Browse  the website here until  31st of May, for some fantastic work! You can ‘visit’ a 3D virtual gallery, or browse the catalogue.

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The Annual Frederick Parker Lectures

The Fredrick Parker Collection is held in our Special Collections, and is a unique resource covering over 300 years of British Furniture making and design, from 1600 to the present day. The Collection consists of over 200 chairs, together with an archive of related historical documents and artifacts and became part of the Furniture Makers’ Company in 2013. The collection is owned by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers (now known as The Furniture Makers) one of the livery companies of the City of London, and has been on long-term loan to London Metropolitan University since 2002.

The Annual Frederick Parker Lectures will this year be held on-line on two successive Thursdays at 6pm lasting an hour with questions, free to those that book.

March 25th: Gina Pierce ‘The Archive is Alive -Parker Knoll Furnishing Fabrics’

April 1st: Luke Honey ‘A Royal Seat – The Story of British Coronation Furniture’

Register now to attend!

A tool chest, a portrait of Frederick Parker and a chair from the collection

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International Women’s Day resources

8th March is International Women’s Day, so a great reason to promote some of the online resources you can use to discover  information about inspirational women, not just in art and design, but across other subjects. As London Met students you have access to a whole host of online resources from other subjects taught at the university that you may find useful in your research, as well as open access resources.

We have mentioned VADS before in our blog posts – a great source for images from over 300 art and design collection in the U.K. collections, free to use for education. One of the collections is the Women’s Library, and includes the Suffrage Collection.

Fashion History Timeline is a great open access resource for Fashion & Textiles, and on it you can find some information about Ann Lowe, who was a black American designer, born in 1898, and pretty much erased from textile history. Her grandmother was an enslaved dressmaker, and Ann herself faced segregation, despite designing Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress. Art Full text also has a few articles (London Met login required) that mention her.

Hannah Höch was one of the few female members of the Dada movement in the early 20th century and forerunner of collage and photomontage. You can find some images of her work in Bridgeman Education (London Met login required), and images and articles in JSTOR (London Met login required).

With the controversial new statue by Maggie Hambling being unveiled last year, Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of feminism, has been the centre of a social media storm. To find out more about her and her work, you can find ‘The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft’ through Cambridge Companions database. The statue is in Newington Green, so if you’re in North London you can see it for yourself.

Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake led the campaign to secure women access to a University education when she and six other women, collectively known as the Edinburgh Seven, began studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1869. She was the first practicing female doctor in Scotland, and one of the first in the wider U.K; a leading campaigner for medical education for women and was involved in founding two medical schools for women, in London and Edinburgh at a time when no other medical schools were training women. You can find a biography of her in Credo Reference.

If you need help using any of the resources, please get in touch with your Academic Liaison Librarian.

Mary Wollstonecraft statue by Maggie Hambling,  photo © Chris H-H














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Printed Matter Virtual Book Fair

In a few days time (24th -28th February), the Printed Matters Virtual Book Fair will open  – its free to attend and you don’t need to go anywhere (registration required for the Opening programme).

The Printed Matter Book Fair exhibitors feature a wide variety of works—from zines and artists’ books to rare and out of print publications, and contemporary art editions. The virtual event will include over 400 exhibitors from 43 countries, with online programs, performances, games, and more.

There’s lots of great looking events, including the Contemporary Artists Book Conference, available from the comfort of your own home (registration required)!

You can see a list of exhibitors here.

There’s a dizzying array of other activities, from guided tours to hundreds of live and pre-recorded book launches, conversations, and other publication-focused events.

Sounds like the perfect weekend for art book and artists book lovers all round.


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