Clothes lines, Glencaple, near Dumfries

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.

108594 items
RIBA3695-73B3 building, Stockley Park, Hillingdon, London

 
RIBA3696-73Head office for insurance firm Willis Faber and Dumas Limited, Ipswich, Suffolk

 
RIBA3697-74Head office for insurance firm Willis Faber and Dumas Limited, Ipswich, Suffolk


RIBA3698-74Old Royal Naval College (Royal Naval Hospital), Greenwich, London: the riverside facade

 
RIBA3699-74St Mary's Church, Woolpit, Suffolk: close-up of the hammer-beam roof

 
RIBA3700-74Pattenden Manor, Goudhurst, Kent


RIBA3701-74Bluewater shopping centre, Dartford, Kent

 
RIBA3702-74Stansted Airport, Essex

 
RIBA3703-74Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London: the twin towers marking the main entrance


RIBA3704-74Kenwood House, Hampstead, London, seen from across Hampstead Heath

 
RIBA3705-74Queen's House, Greenwich, London, seen from Observatory Hill

 
RIBA3708-74George Street, Bath


RIBA3709-74Eaton Square, Belgravia, London

 
RIBA3710-74Park Crescent, Regent's Park, London, seen from the west

 
RIBA3711-74Housing, 103-123 St Marks Road, London


RIBA3712-74St Paul's, Covent Garden, London: the east facade on Covent Garden

 
RIBA3714-74The Rosslyn Arms, Hampstead, London

 
RIBA3715-74Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park, London: central section