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Digitisation's recent posts

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

Florence Heyworth: London’s Hanging Gardens of Babylon – Alexandra Road Estate Then and Now

Audio version Read by Ellie Text Version         ‘Huge picture windows look out over a peaceful oasis of greenery and mature        trees. Many a time I have sat and been simply uplifted by this lush view of         nature or been stunned by the beauty ofRead more

Mihaela Elena Man: At a Crossroads – Kersting’s depiction of the Almudena Cathedral

Audio Version Text Version One photograph that Anthony Kersting took during one of his journeys through Madrid reveals a site whose open roof, skeletal towers and central cavity would easily classify it as a plain depiction of an early twentieth century abandoned architectural project. As alluring as images of outmoded objects and sites are, theyRead more

Megan Stevenson: Reflections on ‘Imagination Dead Imagine’

Audio Version Text Version   In the Conway library’s photographic collection there is a photograph of an artwork titled ‘Imagination Dead Imagine’, taken in the Whitechapel Gallery in 1991. The artwork is by David Ward, a contemporary artist (born 1951) whose works include installation, photography, light, and sound pieces. The piece consists of eight smallRead more

Lara Drew: Winning and Losing – Photographs of Works of Art

Audio Version Read by Francesca Nardone Text Version The Courtauld’s Witt and Conway libraries hold almost one million mounted photographs and over 60,000 negatives. They act as a comprehensive record of western art and global architecture, including cuttings, reproductions, publications and photographs of works of art and landmarks. One entire room is filled with overRead more