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John Ramsey: A Sculpture in Canterbury Cathedral

Audio Version Text Version This sculpture in Canterbury Cathedral was a favourite of George Zarnecki, former librarian of the Conway and Deputy Director of the Courtauld Institute. In the latter part of the 20th century, he was a leading authority on sculpture of the Norman or Romanesque period. For his book English Romanesque Sculpture 1066Read more

Alexander Bird: on the Shelley Memorial by Edward Onslow Ford

In 1893, the Shelley Memorial dedicated to the romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was formally inaugurated in University College, Oxford. 83 years before, the then student was expelled for “contumaciously refusing to answer questions proposed to [him], and for also repeatedly declining to disavow a publication entitled The Necessity of Atheism”. At the time, thisRead more

John Ramsey: Agnes Conway 1885–1950

Audio Version Text Version At 2pm on an April day in 1914, and after an eight-hour climb, Agnes Conway reached the remote village of Lada at the top of Greece’s Langada Pass, 2000 ft above sea level. She and her companion Evelyn Radford had started at 6am and had not stopped to eat. As theyRead more

Ben Britton: “The New Towns are no longer new” – Basildon in the Conway Archive

Audio Version Text Version   In 1956, before Brooke House was built, or any part of Basildon for that matter, there was a sign in its place that read: “This is the site of Basildon Town Centre”. Over the next few years, the first buildings of what was already Basildon were put up, fulfilling theRead more

John Ramsey: The Oxen of Laon Cathedral

Audio Version Text Version Laon, a town in North-East France, has an immense and beautiful cathedral on top of a 200-metre hill, the location of the medieval walled town. It is one of the most important examples of early Gothic architecture. Sixteen life-size statues of oxen look down from the top of the two westernRead more

Muny Morgan: Photographic Memories of Ravello, Italy

Having volunteered on the digitisation project at the Courtauld for two years in April (can’t believe it!) I always had my eye on the Italian section of the Conway collection. We process the boxes the order they appear on the shelf, which is alphabetical, so I knew it would take us a while to getRead more

Irma Delmonte: AF Kersting and The Picturesque

Audio Version Text Version Looking at the world as if it were a picture is a relatively recent phenomenon, yet nowadays, with the advent of smartphones and social media, the practice of producing pictures is embedded in our daily routine, and the term “picturesque” is more relevant than ever. The Rievaulx Terrace at Duncombe ParkRead more

Ferhat Ulusu: Unexpected Music in the Conway Library

Audio Version Text Version   Did I really sign up for this? This is what I asked myself as soon as I walked into the building. A pretty lady, nicely presented with a red lipstick smiled at me and swiftly asked for my name. As a volunteer, I was preparing myself to either welcome guestsRead more

Jane Macintyre on Northampton Architecture and Mr Bassett-Lowke

This is the second of two posts about Northampton architecture featured in the Conway library that I came across during a visit to the town, you can read the first post here. Energetic local businessman W.J. Bassett-Lowke (1877–1953), or “WJ”, was the man behind the development of the UK’s model railway industry. He was alsoRead more

Shijin Wei: Looking at the Collection for Costume Design

During my research project in the photographic library of the Courtauld Institute of Art, I looked through a box of black-and-white photographic prints. In a collection of architectural images, it was amazing to observe images that featured people. These photos record moments of the real world within a past time; the people captured look andRead more