Library and Archive Digital Collections
About Collections Projects URBiS Rights & Restrictions Reproductions Acknowledgements
The Photographic Archive of the BSR includes over 100,000 items, prints and negatives. A number of unique collections of 19th century photographs found their way into the BSR and out of these the Archive grew to include later collections, which document the research and activities of the BSR up to the present day. The majority of these are still unknown outside the BSR and most are not yet catalogued or published.

The processing techniques include both silver and non-silver processes, for example calotypes, glass negatives, salted paper prints and carbon prints.

A broad range of subjects is covered and includes:

• the archaeology and topography of Italy, North Africa and the Middle East
• ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture and, in particular, sculpture
• Roman, Byzantine and Medieval architecture and Renaissance art and architecture
• damage to monuments in Italy during World War II
• BSR events and activities and the work of BSR Fine Art Fellows.

The importance of these collections both as a resource for research and for the history of photography has been underestimated in the past and the main aim today is to conserve the material to a high standard and to make it accessible on the internet. The Archive also encourages collaboration and discussion between other Archives, thus creating in the BSR a forum for discussion, lectures, courses, exhibitions and collaborative projects.

Thanks to the generosity of the Packard Humanities Institute, the major Centenary Library and Archive building project began in 2000 and was successfully completed in 2004. Apart from the addition of a new wing and complete refurbishment of the Library the project also included the construction of a new basement, built to high conservation and security standards, which is now the new home of the Photographic and Historic Archives. Subsequently, all the collections were cleaned, reorganized and placed in conservation sleeves and boxes.

The increase in activities and events relating to the Photographic Archive was triggered in 2002 by a generous three-year grant from The Getty Foundation which funded the cataloguing and organization of three 19th century collections of photographs.
A second two-year grant from The Getty Foundation in 2007 funded the cataloguing and organization of part of the J.B. Ward-Perkins collection (more information in Projects) and the creation of this website.

Photographs currently available on the website:

J.B. Ward-Perkins Collection (BSR Director 1945-74)
  • Libya series - archaeological sites in Libya including photographs of Ward-Perkins’ excavations at Leptis Magna, Sabratha and Cyrenaica in the 1950s and other archaeological sites in the region
  • South Etruria Survey series - the ground-breaking work of Ward-Perkins, who carried out a thorough archaeological survey of South Etruria in the 1950s and 60s. The recent BSR Tiber Valley Project revisited this material
  • II World War Damage series - Ward-Perkins, Lt.-Colonel in the British army led the Sub-Commission of the Allied Government for Monuments and Fine Arts to document damage to Italian monuments caused by bombing throughout Italy during World War II and secured a copy of these photographs and negatives for the BSR Archive.
P.P. Mackey Collection

Thomas Ashby Collection
(the whole collection is available on SEARCH)

• Photographs of Abruzzo
• Photographs of aqueducts in Lazio

John Henry Parker Collection

Robert Gardner Collection

• Photographs of the Via Appia and the Via Traiana published in Lungo l’Appia e la Traiana, 2012
• Photographs of the Via Appia and the Via Traiana published in La Regina Viarum e la via Traiana, 2013
• Photographs of the archaeological site of Peltuinum, Abruzzo

The uncatalogued collections are not available for consultation.