Two new e-resources: The Vogue Archive and Early European Books

The Courtauld has recently acquired access to two new online databases, the Vogue Archive and Early European Books.

The Vogue Archive


The Vogue Archive contains the entire run of Vogue magazine (US edition), from the first issue in 1892 (the cover of which is seen in the image above) to the current month, reproduced in high-resolution color page images. The digitisation has included many para-textual elements and every page, advertisement, cover and fold-out is available. The archive is accompanied by remarkably complete indexing. This means that it is possible to search across the entire publication (including adverts and covers) by designer, garment type or using other descriptive terms. This resource should be of special interest to those studying History of Dress (as well as our well dressed students and staff).

Early European Books Online

Early European Books is a companion product to the popular and well used Early English Books Online. It include almost 25,000 rare books covering the period from 1450 – 1700 drawn from the collections of the Kongelige Bibliotek, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, The Wellcome Library, Det Kongelige Bibliotek and the  Bibliothèque nationale de France. The scans are in high resolution and  each item in the collection is captured in its entirety, complete with its binding, edges, and  endpapers and is accompanied by full descriptive bibliographic metadata. The collection is remarkably rich and students will find a great variety of material. Among the highlights are Lorenzo de’ Medici’s Rappresentazione di San Giovanni e Paolo, Albrecht Dürer’s Four Books on Human Proportion and copies of works by Euclid, Petrarch and Horace containing marginal notes written by Galileo Galilei.

Research help from the Courtauld librarians

Following on from a successful and well received trial we will now be offering Courtauld students (at all levels) research help in an informal setting. Every Wednesday from now on and until further notice we’ll be offering drop-in support in the Student Café from 4 – 4.30 p.m. The next session will be on Wednesday 9th April.

Librarians offering reference support

We’ll be able to help with guidance on topics such as research methodology, search strategy for literature review, using our subscription databases, compiling bibliographies and using reference management software.

So, whether you’re perplexed by JSTOR, in a tangle over op. cit. and loc. cit. or would just like someone to help you locate relevant information, come and find us in the café and we’ll try to set you in the right direction.

We also intend to experiment with other days and times once term starts again.

Archnet relaunch

Archnet welcome page

Launched in 2002 website has recently been significantly revamped to include new features, content and better design. Archnet is the leading online study resource focusing on architecture in Islamic societies. Among the improvements are an increase in the historic archives available as well as a timeline visualisation showing the history of Muslin architecture from the Rashidun Caliphate to the present day.

Archnet timeline

Many Courtauld students will be familiar with the Archnet for providing full-text access to the key journal Muqarnas from volume 1 to 2009 (more recent issues are available via our Brill subscription) but the site also contains much cutting edge information such as  that complete documentation of all 411 projects submitted for the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. There are also collections of reference materials such as the Andrew Peterson’s 1996 Dictionary of Islamic Architecture and a selection of architectural plans and drawings of some of the major monuments in the Islamic world.

New open access e-book collection

Last week Getty Publications launched a Virtual Library providing free access to over 250 backlist titles. The collection comprises titles published by the J.Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute and the Getty Conservation Institute and cover a diverse range of materials including exhibition catalogues, monographs, key art historical texts, journals, symposium papers and works on conservation. There is significant crossover with the library’s book collection including Cezanne in the Studio (currently in the short loan collection), Illuminating the Renaissance, Riegl’s The Group Portraiture of Holland and The Conservation of Wall Paintings, edited by the Courtauld’s Sharon Cather.

Getty Virtual Library

These and other freely accessible e-book collections relevant to staff and students at the Courtauld are available via our e-books page where you can also find links to our subscription e-books collections.

New e-journal and e-books trials

The Book Library is currently trialing two new resources; the online edition of the London Review of Books and Oxford University Press’ Very Short Introductions e-book series.

London Review of Books cover

The London Review of Books is a leading literary and intellectual journal which features frequent contributions from the likes of T.J. Clark, Brian Dillon and Hal foster and has been described byAlan Bennett as ‘The liveliest, the most serious and also the most radical literary periodical we have.’ The online archive covers the entire run of the journal from the first issue in 1979.

Very Short Introductions - Contemporary Art

Very Short Introductions offers concise introductory texts to a diverse range of subjects written by prominent academics. There are a number of relevant art titles including our own Julian Stallabrass’s Very Short Introduction to Contemporary Art as well as many useful titles from other disciplines such as philosophy (including volumes on Foucault, Derrida and Wittgenstein) and history (including The Renaissance, Medieval Britain and Late Antiquity).

Currently the trials are accessible only onsite but should we go ahead with purchase they will also be available remotely.

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

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.

New Art History Resources Online

Several resources of art historical interest have recently become available online, with a special relevance to those studying British art history.

The Royal Academy Winter Exhibition catalogues from 1870 to 1939 have been digitised and are now available on the Royal Academy of Arts Collections website. When the Royal Academy moved from Somerset House (the same premises now occupied by the Courtauld Institute of Art) to its current home in Burlington House it initiated the series of winter loan exhibitions to complement the already well-established summer exhibition. It was these winter exhibitions that would eventually grow into the current blockbuster exhibition programme.

The Royal Academy Winter Exhibition Catalogues website

Browsing this online resource allows you to see the evolution of the catalogues from simple lists of works to fully illustrated publications with scholarly introductory essays as well as sometimes fascinatingly of-their-era advertisements.  The interface is intuitive and you can search the full text of each catalogue, cross-search all the catalogues at once or consult the cumulative indices. The Courtauld Book Library also has a large number of the original exhibition catalogues in hard copy.

The cover of the 1919-20 winter exhibition catalogue


The Walpole Society have recently published their guide to British Art History Resources. The guide spans both well know resources, such as the Burlington Magazine online index, and the more obscure, such as a blog about British picture frames. While not comprehensive, the guide is a useful starting point which gives a clear and well-structured overview of a range of important sites for individual artists, thematic research, collections, sales catalogues or aids for finding primary materials, such as archives of art historical interest. The guide includes only resources that are freely available on the internet so does not cover some of the Courtauld’s relevant subscription resources, such as the Bibliography of British and Irish History or the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The Understanding British Portraits website


One of the resources highlighted by the guide is the newly launched Understanding British Portraits website, the product of a research network of professionals working in the field. Among the most useful sections are a selection of toolkits giving guidance on interpretation and how to research portraits as well as providing guidance for museum professionals on developing learning and participation programmes. Other features include a blog, events news, and research funding opportunities as well as an enquiry service where users can upload an image and receive expert advice as to attribution, sitter identity and provenance. The ability to browse through previous enquiries as well as the inclusion of links to case studies and research papers make this a valuable addition for researchers at all levels.

These and other freely available resources that may be of interest to Courtauld staff and students are listed on our useful links page. If you’d like to make a suggestion please send it to serials (at) Courtauld (dot) ac (dot) uk.

Benezit Dictionary of Artists Online

We are pleased to announce our subscription to the online version of the Benezit Dictionary of Artists.

Benezit Dictionary of Artists


Benezit comprises approximately 170,000 artist entries. In addition to biographical information, many records also includes signatures, auction records, holding institutions and exhibition history. While Benezit aspires to universal coverage, it is especially strong on 19th and 20th century artists.

Only available in English since 2006, it is newly available online. Since its original publication in 1911 Emmanuel Bénézit’s Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs has been continuously updated and now includes biographies of artists working in all media. It is also noteworthy for its coverage of East Asian Art. As well as offsite access, advantages of the online edition include the availability of advanced search options, such as searching by gender, museum holdings or image searches for signatures and stamps of sale.

Claude Monet's signature

A sample signature from Benezit. Used with permission.

The site also includes thematic guides to subjects such as British Visual Satire, however these are much less numerous than the biographical articles.

Benezit complements our existing subscription to Grove Art Online (formerly the Grove / Macmillan Dictionary of Art). As Benezit is part of Oxford Art Online it is possible to cross-search it concurrently with Grove.

Please note that both French and English language print editions are also available in our reference section at Z40 BEN along with other major reference works such as The Dictionary of Art (ed. Jane Turner, Z31 TUR) and Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (Z40 ALL).