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Digitisation's recent posts

Kitty Gurnos-Davies: Ghosts on the South Bank – A Walking Tour of the Festival of Britain

Join me on a walking tour of the Festival of Britain. In the Summer of 1951, the wedge of land between Waterloo Bridge and Hungerford Bridge was populated by a series of temporary architectural structures built to house exhibitions that showcased innovation in British science, industry, and design. Notable amongst these were the Royal FestivalRead more

Mary Whittingdale: Yoga Vinyasa Inspired by Paul Laib’s Photographs of Barbara Hepworth’s Work

Paul Laib (1869–1958) specialised in fine art photography working between 1898 and the 1950s. He was commissioned by many prominent British artists of his time including Oswald Birley, Philip de László, Ben Nicholson, John Piper, and John Singer Sargent. Among these, Laib’s photography of Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975) and her work stand out from his collection.Read more

Hailey Sockalingam: On Chandigarh

When Swiss architect Le Corbusier responded to popular agitation against his design of Chandigarh city, India, with the wry anecdote “I am like a lightning conductor… I attract storms”, it was clear that he had created two cities, but heeded one. The project of Chandigarh was commissioned by Jawarharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister ofRead more

Antonia Jameson: Still-life in Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson

The topic of still-life carries a lot of art historical baggage. Immediately, for me, the baroque, commercial, and kitsch come to mind. But as art critic Herbert Furst argues, still life is often overlooked as a dull subject when it can be an “aesthetic laboratory” through which artists play around with analogy, line and colourRead more

Aayushi Gupta: Why Materiality Matters

Introducing the material turn to the study of photography, visual and historical anthropologist Elizabeth Edwards (2004) encourages us to acknowledge the photograph as a three-dimensional object existing materially in the world – that is, spatially and temporally in the social and cultural experience. From Edward’s perspective, photographs are material entities because they are chemically depositedRead more

Sydney Rose: Building Endurances in the Courtauld Digitisation Project

During the first years of The Courtauld’s Digitisation Volunteer program, Peyton Cherry wrote about how the project aims to capture materiality. Cherry emphasizes how “the physical properties of a cultural artefact have consequences for how the object is used” (Lievrouw, 2014: 24–5 in Cherry, 2019). In her blog post, she discusses how the digitisation projectRead more

Caterina Domeneghini: Beyond Ruins – New Insights into the War Damage Collection in the Conway Library

Has not that ruin, say he, a good effect? A Dialogue on Stowe, 1746 War-time ruins have always exerted an inexplicable fascination on the observer – a puzzling and not infrequently morbid sentiment that has been targeted as a serious object of academic enquiry since at least the aftermath of World War II. Besides provokingRead more

Andreas Schmid: Original Reproductions: Paul Laib’s Photographs of Barbara Hepworth’s Reclining Figure (1933)

Many artworks are only preserved in photographs. When the originals are lost, for instance in the turmoil of war, photographic reproductions often remain as the only way to access them. But the importance of photography exceeds mere preservation: without reproductions, the original would be an isolated object in a museum or an archive with onlyRead more

Cornelia Chen: A Sequel to The “Unfinished Symphony” of Charles Sargeant Jagger

Audio Version Read by Christopher Williams, who also kindly fact-checked and added screen-readable art historical detail to this blog post Text Version Having served in the British infantry during the First World War, Charles Sargeant Jagger was able to create realistic war memorials that made us reflect on his identity as a historian. Instead ofRead more

Julian Wood: A Photographic Detective Story – The Curious Case of the Sultan in the Cellar

Audio version Read by Meredith Loper Text version Sherlock Holmes would have loved The Courtauld. Less than three miles from his Baker Street rooms, beneath its walls lies an unsolved mystery. Within its libraries, a small, battered photograph album has lain concealing secrets from Holmes’ age. While the latter was out collecting evidence of London’sRead more