Introducing our new Graduate Trainnees

Hello, I’m Bobbie Winter-Burke and I am one of the new Graduate Trainees in the Book Library. Before joining The Courtauld in September, I was a Library Assistant at Middlesex University in Hendon. As I knew I wanted to work in art libraries, during the four months I spent at Middlesex I also volunteered one day a week at The Whitechapel Gallery organising and cataloguing their curatorial library. Prior to working in libraries, I set up and ran a small bookshop for an independent art publishing house, which is where I began to be interested in the collection development aspects of library work.

I studied English Literature at the University of Sussex and since graduating have worked in quite a variety of organisations including theatres, galleries and museums, as well as medical publishing, archives, and a public health organisation. I am excited to be part of such a small and specialised team and I look forward to getting to know the library collection and its users better over the year.


Hello, my name is Cait Peterson, and I’m one of the new Graduate Trainees in the Courtauld Book Library. Before starting this post, I spent a year working as an Information Assistant at Kingston University.  I finished my masters in Library Science at City University at the end of September, and I wrote my dissertation on the library’s potential role in artistic ‘inspiration’. My interest is in art librarianship specifically, and this position at the Courtauld is a wonderful opportunity for me to gain experience in a specialist art library. My background is in illustration, and I did my first degree at Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London. I look forward to spending an interesting and exciting year at the Courtauld!


Update on Emblemata post in April 2011

Back in 2011, I wrote a post about one of my favourite books in the Special Collections – a copy of Alciato’s emblem book from 1608. I talked about the binding having some interesting features, including the initials RW incorporated into the blind roll decoration. John Chalmers, a retired librarian who was once based in Oxford, now in Chicago, contacted me about the posting. And here is what he said:

“The attribution to the Oxford binder Robert Way (active in Oxford 1602-1626) by Basil Oldham has been accepted and unchallenged, although there is evidence that Way’s tools were shared with other binders in Oxford.

A characteristic of Oxford binding in this period, in addition to the dark blind-tooled calf, is manuscript endleaves, which have been studied by the late Neil Kerr, and leather or alum-tawed sewing supports.”

What I had thought were parchment sewing supports, upon closer inspection and armed with greater knowledge acquired on my book conservation course than I had at the time of writing, I could now see that the supports were, in fact, alum-tawed skins.

I am thankful to Mr. Chalmers for both his information and encouragement. I have now amended the bibliographic record binding description.

Erica Foden-Lenahan

Special Collections Librarian

E-resource update

For the new academic year, we have substantially increased our e-resource provision. We have subscribed to two databases which aggregate e-journal content, allowing you to cross-search across a large number of journal titles online.

The first of the new databases is Art Source, which is currently the largest art specific resource of its kind. It provides access to full text articles of over 630 selected periodicals covering art and related subjects. It also provides bibliographic citations and abstracts for a wide range of titles over a longer date range. Among the journals to which Art Source gives us online access for the first time are Apollo, Art in America and The British Art Journal as well as significantly increasing our online coverage of Art History, Studies in Conservation and Woman’s Art Journal. A full list of titles and coverage dates can be found here.

Art Source screenshot


The second database is Art & Humanities Full Text, which provides broader subject coverage. While it gives online access to such core journals as Artforum International and Art Monthly, it also includes titles with a wider focus such as The New Criterion and The Journal of the History of Ideas. A full list of titles and coverage dates can be found here.

Art & Humanities Full Text screenshot


There are also a range of advanced search and filter options in both databases and the ability to setup email alerts for the table of contents of journals as they are published or for new results which meet your search criteria.

As well as the above full text resources, we also have a new subscription to the International Bibliography of Art, which is the successor product to the Getty’s Bibliography of the History of Art. This provides an indexing an abstracting service by subject experts and covers over 500 scholarly journals.

All these databases can be found on our online resources page and selected individual journal titles with details of date coverage are listed on the online journals page. To access these resources while offsite you will need your Athens login. If you need any help with any of our e-resources please contact

Book Library closure period

The Garden of Earthly Delights: The Third Day of The Creation of the World (closed position) - Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights: The Third Day of The Creation of the World (closed position) – Hieronymus Bosch. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Please be aware that the Book Library will be closed from the 1st of August through to the 1st of September, inclusive. The library staff can still be contacted via the Booklib email address. Courtauld Institute of Art staff and students are reminded that they are entitled to membership of Senate House Library, which remains open during this period.

Copac update

The latest addition to Copac (the National, Academic and Specialist Library Catalogue) is the Henry Moore Institute Research Library. This means that you can now cross-search their holdings of over 20,000 volumes specialising in British sculpture post-1850 at the same time as searching almost all the university libraries and many of the specialist libraries in the UK.

The Copac home page

Copac’s homepage currently lists a number of specialist art libraries available through their catalogue, including but not limited to; The National Art library, The Tate Library, The National Portrait Gallery Library and, perhaps most importantly, The Book Library at The Courtauld Institute of Art. Among the very few exceptions of which we are aware are the libraries of the University of the Arts London are not yet searchable via Copac.

Courtauld staff and students are reminded that if they require a book of which no copies are available in London they may be able to request it as an inter-library loan.

An FAQ about Copac can be found here. Other similar services that may be of use to Courtauld staff and students are which searches libraries internationally and which searches journal holdings across research libraries in the UK. If you would like any help using any of these resources please contact a member of library staff.

Exploring the Wilde bequest: offprints and beyond

Wilde offprints

Having this week completed a reorganization of fifteen boxes of offprints from the Johannes Wilde bequest; I thought I would write a few words on the material preserved within these boxes. This fragment of Wilde’s legacy collection, significant in size and content, is yet to be catalogued on the library’s OPAC, but can be searched by card index (see below). The main bequest of books and manuscripts, as well as his archive of teaching materials, is fully catalogued and kept in the library’s special collections – both can be consulted on filling in a CABS request form.

Wilde drawer

What began as a vast swathe of offprints has now been streamlined into a shipshape assemblage of just over 600 texts, most of which have personal inscriptions to Wilde. There is a broad scope of material chiefly published in the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s, but going as far back as a volume Jahrbuch der Königlich preussischen Kunstsammlungen from 1893. Written in several languages (chiefly German but also English, French, Italian and Hungarian), it contains a lot of Wilde’s own writings, as well as a good amount on Michelangelo – as you might expect – Renaissance art, and architecture.

As well as official offprints from periodicals such as Oud Holland, The Burlington Magazine, the Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, and Athenaeum, the collection also contains some full issues of journals; festschrifts for scholars such as Julius Schlosser, Paul Clemen and Max Friedländer; and ephemeral items including business cards, compliment slips, newspaper and magazine clippings, and proofs.

Gerard Frankl

Most of the items are marked with Wilde’s distinctive handwriting, either denoting the author’s name at the top of the page (as above on a clipping from The Listener entitled ‘How Cézanne saw and used colour’ by Gerard Frankl), or with his notes or corrections alongside the text. There are also a great number of personal inscriptions written from the various authors, such as this affectionate example from Antoine Seilern to Julia and Johannes Wilde, from his piece on ‘An ‘Entombment’ by Rubens’ (The Burlington Magazine Vol. 95, No. 609, December 1953).

Seilern letter

What is interesting is the network of figures that emerges from these inscriptions, giving you a tangible picture of the who’s who of art historians and scholars from the first half of the twentieth century, with a particular emphasis on the ‘Vienna School’ and on émigrés such as Wilde, Seilern, Charles de Tolnay, Erwin Panofsky and many others. It is an interesting piece of Courtauld Institute history in itself, demonstrating how professors, peers and students influenced one another and continued to correspond throughout their careers. Below you can see an envelope addressed to Professor Wilde from Katherine Freemantle, containing a proof copy of some biographical particulars and a bibliography of Professor Jan van Gelder.

Wilde letter

For more information on the Wilde Collection, see the Special Collections page of the book library website. Further archive material on Wilde is held at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. If you want to have a look at the offprints collection, we have a holdings list behind the issue desk in the book library.

Harriet Lam

New Books: London & UK Exhibition Catalogues

New Book Display

We’ve got a very fetching new books display at the moment, with the UK exhibition catalogues cutting a particularly fine figure as the summer shows are unleashed – most recently the Courtauld’s own Collecting Gauguin: Samuel Courtauld in the ’20s, curated by Karen Serres.

Elsewhere the Tate have been busy, with solo exhibitions from both Ellen Gallagher and Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair at Tate Modern, and a retrospective of Gary Hume at Tate Britain. I’m afraid we didn’t quite have space to fit in Tate Liverpool’s catalogue of Chagall: Modern Master too, but it is in stock at Z5079 ZUR KUN; and the Patrick Caulfield catalogue will be with us soon!

The Estorick Collection are showing Giorgio Casali: photographer / domus 1951-1983, a collection of his striking and stylish photographic work of Italian architecture and design originally shown in Domus magazine. And opening soon, we have Jockum Nordström: All I Have Learned and Forgotten Again at the Camden Arts Cenre from 26th July with free entry.

Old news for some, but keeping a stalwart presence on the new books display is David Bowie Is, the V&A’s showcase summer exhibition; alongside Man Ray Portraits – formerly at the National Portrait Gallery, now up at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, so if you missed it the first time around there’s still time to catch it a bit further north until 22nd September.

Finally, it’s last call for this year’s Deutsche Borse Photography Prize at the Photographer’s Gallery; and Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan – a free exhibition at the Wellcome Collection and well worth a visit before they close the gallery space on for redevelopment over the summer months. Both shows close on 30th June.

That’s it for now, but there will be an update soon on some more recent acquisitions in the book library, featured in our last display of this academic year.

Harriet Lam

Glasgow School of Art Library closure

From 8th June until 15th September  inclusive, the Glasgow School of Art Library is planning a refurbishment of the ground floor of the main Library. That means there will be no access to borrow or use the bulk of the Library’s collections during this period.   They will continue to process SCONUL applications, but applicants should be advised services will be reduced.  All digital collections will continue to be fully available over the summer but only a very limited selection from the print collection, please advise your users to consult the Library website for full details before visiting.


For further information please read this blog post.

New Online Resource: Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives Film Collection

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) at Dunbarton Oaks have recently made available online fourteen films from their collection. Of greatest interest to Courtauld staff and students will be those dealing with the restoration and conservation, during the first half of the twentieth century, of Byzantine art and architecture at the Red Sea Monastery of Saint Anthony near Cairo and Hagia Sophia and Kariye Camii in Istanbul.

A film still showing restoration of a mosaic at Hagia Sophia

A film still showing restoration of a mosaic at Hagia Sophia

The restoration work was carried out by the Byzantine Institute of America under the direction of the archaeologist and scholar Thomas Whittemore. The work at the Hagia Sophia and Kariye Camii was enabled by Whitemore’s friendship with Mustafa Ataturk, founder of the Republic of Turkey. At the Hagia Sophia, many mosaics previously thought lost in the earthquake of 1894 were uncovered and Laurian Douthett suggests that this may have led to the conversion of the mosque into a museum.  The films provide a fascinating early use of the medium to document the restoration process as well as giving a glimpse of life in Turkey in the 1930s and 1940s.

Thomas Whittmore at Hagia Sophia

Thomas Whittmore at Hagia Sophia

Whittemore’s four volume preliminary reports on the mosaics of St. Sophia at Istanbul can be found in the Book Library at classmark A3780 BYZ. An exhibition catalogue from the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University detailing the Byzantine Institute restoration at Kariye Camii can be found at Z5020 NEW WAL (2004).

Another film gives an insight into the history of the garden at Dunbarton Oaks. The aging 16mm films were themselves in need of urgent conservation which resulted in their digitisation and publishing on the Dumbarton Oaks website.

All images are courtesy of the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA)  at Dunbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.