Edwin Smith

"Mr Smith is… a genius at photography"

Hailed by the poet and architectural historian Sir John Betjeman as "a genius at photography", Edwin Smith (1912-1971) was one of Britain's finest photographers, noted especially for his sensitive evocations of place. The recurrent themes of his work - a concern for the fragility of the environment; an acute appreciation of the need to combat cultural standardization by safeguarding regional diversity; and a conviction that architecture should be rooted in time and place - are as pressing today as when Smith first framed them in his elegant compositions.

Smith's archive of 60,000 images and their copyright are now held by the Robert Elwall RIBA Library Photographs Collection, with 4,500 available to view on RIBApix.

Below are some of our picks from his collection. To view more of Edwin Smith's work click here.

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101273 items
RIBA64332Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin: students relaxing on the raked concrete benches by the east front entrance

 
RIBA64334Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin: the entrance hall

 
RIBA84028Plan of Nottingham Castle


RIBA12953Plan of Nottingham Castle

 
RIBA84030View of Nottingham Castle with gabled houses and a church at the bottom of the hill

 
RIBA84031View of the north face of Nottingham Castle: elevation


RIBA3116-39"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: "Expando-Space", an expanding adaptable space

 
RIBA28004"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: multi-purpose foam block put to various uses

 
RIBA4684"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: over-bed cloud forms


RIBA4682"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: sketch annotated "Type of building for Expandospace Exhibition"

 
RIBA4683"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: sketch of room plan for Expandospace Exhibition

 
RIBA59992"Seco" prefabs


RIBA3455-59"Seco" temporary bungalow

 
RIBA59991"Seco" temporary bungalows, McLeod Road, Woolwich, London

 
RIBA42359(Former) Bedford Park Stores, Bath Road, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, London


RIBA34719[C] Space - DRL 10 Pavilion, Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London

 
RIBA34720[C] Space - DRL 10 Pavilion, Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London

 
RIBA105569’Devil’s Elbow’, Skyline Drive, Prospect Ridge, Nassau, for Mr & Mrs A. R. McDonald


RIBA607081 & 2 Laurence Pountney Hill, City of London

 
RIBA607091 & 2 Laurence Pountney Hill, City of London

 
RIBA800331 & 3 Wells Rise, St John's Wood, London


RIBA692521 and 2 Coach and Horses Yard, Savile Row, Westminster, London

 
RIBA60351 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London

 
RIBA156561 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London: the entrance hall


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