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Resources for History of Art students

In York

Resources in York 

The City of York

Rich in internationally significant buildings, not least the Minster and many parish churches

York is well placed to allow easy access to London and other cities.

Libraries and Collections in York

Who to contact

  • University Library and Archives 
    Including the JB Morrell Library, the Raymond Burton Library for Humanities Research, the King's Manor Library and the Borthwick Institute for Archives. Besides the usual books, journals and bibliographical resources which may be expected of a university library (including an ever-expanding art history section), the library at York offers extensive online resources. There are computerised versions of many printed indexes and abstracts, and a number of databases with no hard copy equivalent.  Do have a look at the Subject Guide for Art History which is a crucial source of links to library journals and databases, and the links work from anywhere, including off campus.
  • Borthwick Institute for Archives
    The Borthwick Institute, one of the major archive repositories in Britain, holds the records of the Archbishopric of York from the early thirteenth century onwards, and specialises in the study of ecclesiastic institutions. The Gurney Library is a reference collection with limited borrowing facilities and contains works with a particular emphasis on church history and administration; it has good runs of relevant periodicals.
  • King's Manor Library
    The Wormald, Newton and Newbold collections, major resources for medieval art history, are housed in the King's Manor, as is the Architectural Studies Library, an invaluable source for architectural historians.
  • Minster Library and Archives
    The York Minster Library has particular strengths in iconography and art history as well as in medieval history, patristic and liturgical writings and literature. It possesses a number of Anglo-Saxon and medieval manuscripts and holds the archives of the Dean and Chapter. It offers reference facilities and allows registered postgraduate students to borrow books.  Including resources for architecture.
  • City of York Public Library
    The City of York Public Library has a valuable reference collection of local history materials, with subject index and indexed files of local newspapers since the eighteenth century. Available to individuals who live, work or study in York. It is free to join and most things are free.
  • York City Archives
    The York City Archives (adjacent to the King's Manor, within the City Art Gallery building) contain not only civic records for York from the medieval period onwards, but also numerous other private and institutional deposits relating to the history of York and its people.

Photographic archives

If you are interested in undertaking research on an aspect of British art there are collections of slides used principally (but not exclusively) for teaching in Vanbrugh College and the King's Manor. The latter also houses a large collection of York photographs taken by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England) and the late Dr Peter Newton.

The City of York Public Library has a collection of some 9000 photographs of York taken over the past hundred years.


Libraries and collections

  • Boston Spa Reading Room
    York is also the nearest university to the British Library document supply centre at Boston Spa, the central national repository for the UK inter-library loans service and the largest lending library in Europe. The University provides a free minibus service to the BLDSC on alternate Wednesdays and Fridays, on a pre-book basis through the library's lending services.  Items for consultation at BLDSC should be booked six working days in advance of a visit.
  • Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art Library and Archive (Newcastle Upon Tyne)
    Free resource for the study of contemporary art and design which can be accessed both on-site and online.
  • Durham Cathedral
    Includes access to the Chapter Library which contains strong references for history, travel, music, art, and classics.
  • Henry Moore Institute Library (Leeds)
    Collection of research materials pertaining to modern (post-1875) and contemporary British sculpture, as well as supplemental information on modern international sculpture.
  • Great North Museum Library (Newcastle Upon Tyne)
    Including the Library and Archives of the Natural History Society of Northumbria, the Library of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (formerly at Black Gate), and Newcastle University’s Cowen Library.
  • National Archives
    The UK government's official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history. Also includes the ARCHON online directory.

Journals, publications and reviews

  • British Art and Visual Culture since 1750 New Readings
    This series provides a forum for the study of British art and visual culture from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. Edited by David Peters Corbett, University of East Anglia.
  • Visual Culture in Britain
    Published by Manchester University press until 2008.
  • CAA reviews
    Critical reviews of books, exhibitions, and projects in all areas and periods of art history and visual studies published by the College Art Association.

Other lending

In addition there are excellent communications by road and rail with the rest of the country. London is only two hours away by train and most major provincial cities can be reached by mid-morning at the latest.

    The RIDING Access Scheme (now RIDING PLUS) enables research students to use and borrow books from the libraries of the Universities of Huddersfield, Hull, Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Durham, Sunderland and Teesside.
  • British Library London
    The British Library is the world's largest library and one of the world's major research libraries, holding over 150 million items in all known languages and formats.


Galleries, museums and exhibition venues

  • Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Newcastle Upon Tyne)
    An international centre for contemporary art.
  • Fitzwilliam Museum
    Collection includes antiquities, applied arts, illuminated manuscripts, and paintings by Constable, Hogarth, and Gainsborough. Located in Cambridge.
  • Henry Moore Institute (Leeds)
    Known internationally for its wide-ranging programme, from historic to contemporary sculpture.
  • Laing Art Gallery
    Home to a collection of art and sculpture, including historic, modern and contemporary art.
  • Leeds Art Gallery
    Home to one of the best collections of 20th century British art outside London. 
  • Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
    A gallery of modern and contemporary art.
  • Minster Collection
    Including the Minster Library.
  • National Gallery
    The National Gallery houses the national collection of Western European painting from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It is on show 361 days a year, free of charge.
  • National Portrait Gallery
    The gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world.
  • Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
    The country’s oldest provincial antiquarian society, encourages study of the history and archaeology of north-eastern England.
  • St Mary's Church, Coppergate, York
    Medieval church in the heart of York which opened as a contemporary visual art venue in 2004.
  • Tate Museums
    Including Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St Ives. Tate's mission is to increase public knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of British, modern and contemporary art through the Collection and an inspiring programme in and well beyond our galleries.
  • Hepworth Wakefield
    Formerly the Wakefield Art Gallery, combines of contemporary architecture and art alongside the work of Barbara Hepworth.
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
    The V&A is comprised of the museum at South Kensington, the V&A Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green, and the archives and stores at Blythe House, Kensington Olympia. All V&A museums have free entry.
  • Weston Park Museum
    Formerly called the Sheffield City Museum and Art Gallery, includes seven galleries and temporary exhibitions.
  • Yale Center for British Art (New Haven‚ Connecticut)
    The largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom.
  • York Art Gallery
    Includes paintings and ceramics with a series of exhibitions, events and outreach work.
  • Yorkshire Museum
    Offers local historical artefacts from Roman and Viking times, plus travelling exhibitions.
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park
    An open-air art organisation, showing work by UK and international artists, including notably Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Online galleries and listings

  • Art Museum Listings
    A survey of international art galleries by Piero Scaruffi.
  • Artchive
    Offers access to more than 2,000 fine art scans from over 200 different artists, from Mark Harden.
  • CGFA Virtual Art Museum
    Broad gallery that includes biographies and images for hundreds of well-known American, French, Spanish, Dutch, German and Japanese artists.
  • Digital Imaging Project
    Art historical images of sculpture and architecture from prehistoric to post-modern.
  • Olga's Gallery
    One of the largest and most comprehensive online collections, including over 10,000 works of art.
  • Photo London
    A consortium of public collections that hold photographs relating to Greater London
  • Web Gallery of Art
    A virtual museum and searchable database of European painting and sculpture, currently containing over 25,200 reproductions.


Groups and organisations

    Network to art history libraries, institutions, resources, etc.
  • British Academy
    The British Academy is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences.
  • British Association for American Studies
    Helps to promote, support and encourage the study of the United States in the universities, colleges and schools of the United Kingdom, and by independent scholars.
  • Center for British Studies (University of California, Berkeley)
    One of the largest and most distinguished groups of scholars studying British culture, society and history in the United States.
  • English Heritage
    English Heritage exists to protect and promote England's spectacular historic environment and ensure that its past is researched and understood.
  • Historic Scotland
    An executive agency charged with safeguarding the nation's historic environment and promoting its understanding and enjoyment.
  • Institute of Historical Research
    The national centre for history with the aim of promoting the use of electronic networks by historians and history students.
  • International Society of Anglo-Saxonists
    A gateway for those interested in English history, archaeology, literature, language, religion, society, and numismatics between the years c. 450 and 1100 AD.
  • J Paul Getty Trust
    An international cultural and philanthropic institution that focuses on the visual arts in all their dimensions, recognizing their capacity to inspire and strengthen humanistic values.
  • Medieval Academy of America
    The largest professional organisation in the world devoted to medieval studies.
  • Monumenta Germaniae Historica
    A comprehensive series of carefully edited and published sources for the study of German history from the end of the Roman Empire to 1500. Also available in a digital version.
  • National Trust
    Works to preserve and protect the coastline, countryside and buildings of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Includes its public archive, the National Monuments Record.
  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency
    The government agency protecting and conserving the natural and built environment explains its responsibilities and activities.
  • Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
    Includes the National Monuments Record of Wales and the national collection of information about the archaeological, architectural and historical heritage.
  • Society of Antiquaries of London
    The oldest independent learned society solely concerned with the study of the past.
  • Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland
    Aims to promote and support the teaching of Old English in British and Irish Universities.
  • Smithsonian Institution
    The world's largest museum complex and research organization composed of 19 museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoo.
  • Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (Yale)
    An educational charity set up to promote and support the study of British art history and architecture.
  • Viking Society for Northern Research
    Founded to promote interest in the Scandinavian North, its literature and antiquities.
  • Yorkshire Country House Partnership
    A forum for research into the region's country houses.

History of Art departments in the UK


Other resources

Other resources

  • research library
    With thousands of articles from the Grove Dictionary of Art on artist's biographies, materials and techniques, and styles and movements.
  • Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collections
    Authoritative full-text databases offering uniquely comprehensive coverage of poetry, drama and prose in English.
  • Libdex
    Links to library catalogues worldwide.
  • Patron Saints Index
    Comprehensive list and brief biographies of saints. Lists both alphabetical and by subject; highly cross-referenced.
  • Catholic Encyclopedia
    Reference source for all aspects of Christian iconography and history.
  • Rulers
    Historical genealogical tables for the monarchs of France, England, Spain, Germany, and Russia from medieval to modern.
  • Historic Environment Information Resources Portal (HEIRPORT)
    Recently launched heritage website. Important historical records can be searched swiftly at this web service developed by the Archaeological Data Service.
  • Giustiniani collection of antiquities
    Constructed by Dr Christina Strunck.

Sources for second-hand books

    Advanced Book Exchange
    Search engine that finds the best buys from among 150 million new, used, rare, and out-of-print books for sale. Includes textbooks and international titles.
  • Library Hub Discover 
    UK & Irish academic and research library catalogue.
  • Powell's Books (Chicago)
    Specializes in quality used, rare, and discounted books, primarily academic and scholarly books.

IT Services

For help with your IT account and computing systems around campus, see IT Services: