2005

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Acquisition of Architectural Press archive

Date:

13 January 2007

Press office contact:

Press Office
T: +44 (0)207 580 5533
E: pressoffice@riba.org

The Royal Institute of British Architects British Architectural Library Photographs Collection has taken over the photographic archive of the former Architectural Press following an agreement with The Architects' Journal's publisher, EMAP Construct.
 
EMAP has donated the collection on the basis that it will be conserved to modern standards and made fully accessible.
 
The archive comprises c.500,000 prints and negatives commissioned and used by the Press in its publications from 1930 to 1982. These publications include the highly influential magazines, Architectural Review and The Architects' Journal, as well as seminal publications such as F R S Yorke's The Modern House (1937) and J M Richards's
The Functional Tradition in Early Modern Buildings (1958) which was largely illustrated with photographs by Eric de Maré.
 
Among the highlights of the archive are c 2,000 glass plate negatives taken by Dell and Wainwright, official photographers to the Architectural Review from 1930-1946 whose striking and uncompromising imagery did so much to promote the Modern Movement in Britain; the more informal photographs of journalists such as Ian Nairn which provided visual reinforcement to campaigns for a better environment; and the photographs commissioned for the Architectural Review's notorious Manplan series (1969-1970) from photojournalists such as Ian Berry, Patrick Ward and
Tony Ray-Jones.
 
Robert Elwall, Curator of the RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection, said,
 
"We are delighted that EMAP Construct has given us the opportunity to make this internationally important archive accessible to the widest possible public and to provide it with the appropriate standards of conservation that will also allow it be enjoyed by generations to come. Its acquisition confirms the RIBA collection's standing as one of the finest in its subject field anywhere in the world."
 
Dr Irena Murray, Director of the RIBA British Architectural Library, stressed in turn the remarkable research and education potential of the collection, praising this most recent acquisition as yet another example of the RIBA Trust's commitment to making great architectural collections widely available and known.
 
EMAP Construct editoral director Paul Finch said:
 
"We are delighted to have made this substantial contribution to the RIBA's photographic collection, confident in the knowledge that it is in excellent professional hands. We hope this commitment to the RIBA Trust will be echoed elsewhere." 

Notes to editors

The RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection contains over 1.3m images of architecture worldwide. The Collection is not only one of the key constituent collections of the RIBA Library, but also one of the most important collections in its subject field in the world. Photography is important to the continuing development of architectural practice and history. Most images in the Collection are unique; many are important photographically as well as architecturally. The Collection is very much a working collection which is heavily used by practising architects, researchers, historians, the media and the general public from all over the world.
 
Architecture is interpreted in its widest sense and the Collection thus contains images of related topics such as interior design, landscape architecture, topography, construction, and the applied arts. The Collection also holds a large number of portraits of architects and others who have contributed to the shaping of the built environment. Chronologically too the subject coverage of the Collection is extensive, ranging from antiquity to the present.
 
In addition to the work of acknowledged photographic masters such as Francis Bedford and Tony Ray-Jones and architectural photographers like Dell and Wainwright and Eric de Maré, the Collection also holds the archives of several of the foremost architectural photographers of the 20th century, among them John Maltby, Colin Westwood, Henk Snoek, Alastair Hunter and Edwin Smith. Images are held in a wide range of formats - negatives, prints, 5x4 and 35mm colour transparencies.
 
Viewing Photographs
All photographs in the Collection can be viewed by prior appointment.
 
Enquiry Service
The Collection operates a free enquiry service answering questions from all over the world about its holdings and whether the Collection can supply images of particular buildings, subjects, or work by particular architects etc, either for private use or reproduction. If we have not got the image you want it may be able to suggest alternative sources. Enquiries are welcomed whether they be by post, phone, fax, e-mail or in person.
 
Copying Service
Subject to the laws of copyright, the Collection can provide copies of any of its images for private study or, subject to reproduction fees, publication. Similarly it can arrange for copies of images in other forms in the Library (e.g. engravings) to be made. Conventional photographic copies are normally ready within 10 days but 24 hour and three day express services are also available. Digital copies can be supplied quicker.
 
Slide hire
Over 100,000 slides are available for hire for lectures, presentations etc to RIBA members and the general public. RIBA members receive a discount.

 

 

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