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.

12 items
RIBA2996-31Stokesay Castle, Shropshire: the gatehouse with the medieval great hall in the background

RIBA5511Basilica of San Marco, Venice

RIBA5654St Lawrence, Didmarton, Gloucestershire: the vestry, formerly the north transept

RIBA5710Roofscape, Whitby, North Yorkshire

RIBA10714Clothes lines, Glencaple, near Dumfries

RIBA10757Edinburgh, looking west from the Crags to the Castle

RIBA11747Road in the Burren, County Clare

RIBA11780Cottages near Ardare, County Donegal

RIBA14999Campden House, Chipping Campden, Cotswolds: fragment of the destroyed mansion house with the 'Almonry' in the background

RIBA25611Great Palaestra, Pompeii

RIBA26756Triangular Bridge, Crowland, Lincolnshire: close-up of a Romanesque statue of Christ in Majesty

RIBA28999Brighton beach