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Digitisation Volunteer's recent posts

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

Jane Macintyre: On Northampton Architecture – the Guildhall

During a recent visit to Northampton I soon realised that this Midlands town is a treasure-trove of interesting architecture and so it seemed like a good idea to find out what images the Conway library holds. The first building I came across was the Guildhall, a striking example of the high Victorian Gothic revival byRead more

Sabrina Gardiner: a Love Affair with Canada

Audio Version Read by Tanya Goodman-Bailey Text Version For almost ten years, I have had an intense love affair with Canada. Why exactly I love Canada has always eluded me; maybe it’s the friendliness of the people, or the vastness and natural beauty of its varied landscapes from sea to shining sea, or the numerousRead more

Hannah Wilson: Visions of London

Over the last few centuries, London has inspired architects to imagine how they would reshape the city to their own distinct styles. After the fire of London in 1666, Sir Christopher Wren proposed a new street layout for London, with streets dividing building blocks into rectangles around St Paul’s Cathedral but branching out from centralRead more

Mark Long: Vignetting in Archive Photographs

Audio Version Read by Bill Bryant Text Version Whilst digitising the Conway Library, I often come across confusing visual anomalies like the one at the bottom left of item CON_B00756_F007_025. Understanding what has caused the image fault requires a bit of a technical explanation. In this case, what we are seeing is an example ofRead more

Lorraine Stoker: Modernity in the Conway

Audio Version Read by Anna Thompson Text Version When I started volunteering on the digitisation programme, I never thought it would reignite my interest in the history of art. Yet here I am in the second year of a part-time M.A. in History of Art and Photography, and loving every moment of the challenge. IRead more

John Ramsey: Church of St James the Great, South Leigh

Audio Version Text Version While digitising a box of photographs of Oxfordshire churches with fellow volunteer Muny, we found a wonderful wall painting in a Kersting print; a welcome surprise after the usual mix of white-walled naves and pillars. In the Middle Ages, it was common practice to paint the walls of churches. Few peopleRead more

John Ramsey: On the Wellington Arch

Audio Version Text Version When I catalogued a box of London photos from the Conway Library I came across this image of the Wellington Arch. The view today looks very different. The Arch was originally commissioned by George IV to celebrate the victories of the Napoleonic wars and was positioned at the entrance to GreenRead more

Lorraine Stoker: The Illegible Kersting

While transcribing one of the A.F. Kersting’s ledgers, a volunteer came across an illegible entry: KER_NEG_W1013-6. It was posted on SLACK for all the volunteers involved in the Courtauld Connects digitisation project and yet despite our best efforts the entry remained unidentified. The clues were numerous but confusing: Revivalist or Georgian, Heraldic or Masonic, double-headedRead more

Evie Mc: Wings and Wheels

You never know quite what to expect when a box of old engravings is brought down from the prints department for digitisation – that’s what makes it so interesting. The prints can depict anything from bland pastoral scenes to salacious classical carry-ons or gory biblical fire-and-brimstoning; all in a day’s work. This print above turnedRead more