Assisi, Upper Church of San Francesco
Assisi, Upper Church of San Francesco

After the disastrous earthquake in Umbria, San Francesco was the obvious subject for a small exhibition of photographs to introduce new students to the range and depth of coverage in the Conway Library. Sadly, Assisi had never been the object of a Conway photographic expedition by Constance Hill which gave so many other Italian cities and monuments intensive archaeological coverage in clear modern prints. The Conway does, however, hold many fine pre-First World War photographs of the basilica, including some splendid 1860s-80s albumen prints, and some turn of the century images, for which we hold the negatives, including typically classic views taken by the Rev. F.R.P. Sumner. In the late 1960s, when Professor Julian Gardner was teaching at the Institute, the Assisi coverage was much enhanced by his own photographs, and by those of his students, Dr Joanna Cannon, who now teaches at the Institute, and Dr Dillian Gordon, now at the National Gallery. Later, under Dr Cannon’s aegis, the Conway collection also acquired a magnificent set of detailed photographs of the wall paintings in the basilica, taken by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.

Lindy Grant

Alinari has arrived in the Witt Library

The Alinari Photographic Archive (founded in 1854) is an outstanding collection of photographs owned by the photo agency Fratelli Alinari of Florence, which records both ancient and modern art and architecture. By far the largest proportion of the archive covers Italy and Sicily, but it also contains extensive early photographic coverage of all the major western (and some eastern) European museums and collections, and even the near east. The major surveys were mainly carried out in the first four decades of this century. In addition to the Alinari negatives the agency owns several other photo archives but those included on the microfiches are the Anderson and Brogi archives whose surveys also recorded architecture and the arts in Italy and other European countries and predated the second World War. These photographs mostly measure approximately 10 x 8 ins. (25.5 x 20 cm.) and are of a very high quality, thereby forming an important photo library for scholarly use. The Alinari Photo Archive has now been reproduced on microfiche. Users may purchase photos through the Witt Library, and a proportion of the revenue from each sale of an Alinari photo will go to the Witt and Conway Libraries.

Anthea Brook