The nucleus of the Conway Library is the private collection of Lord Conway of Allington, which came to The Courtauld Institute in 1932. Since then the library has been developed continuously as a teaching and research collection. It now contains over one million images: photographs and cuttings of architecture, architectural drawings and publications, sculpture (approximately 10,000 sculptors are represented), ivories, seals, metalwork, manuscript illumination, stained glass, wall paintings, panel paintings and textiles. Images are mounted on card and housed in boxes on open shelves.

Conway Library

Separate from the main library sequence and accessible by arrangement are the Conway’s holdings of historic photographs (mostly of architecture) and the late Edward B. Garrison’s collection of photographs of pre-1300 Italian painting.

Since its inception 75 years ago at The Courtauld, the library has been built up by various means. Its stock of original photographs has been increased by donation and purchase of negatives, and the library has initiated much photography in Britain and abroad with the involvement of staff photographers. A large number of the photographs are the work of graduate students whose informed insights make the library an especially valuable instrument of research.

Organisation of the main sections of the library:

Pre-1800 (1830 for Britain), 19th century, 20th century, 21st century, and within each by location.

By century, school and artist.

By century of publication, country of publication and name of designer.

By century, school and artist.

By century, school and book type.

The website: includes approximately 3% of the Conway Library’s images, selected from the architecture and sculpture sections and from the collection of historic photographs.

Rights and reproductions enquiries

Courtauld Images:
+44 (0)20 7848 2879


ACCESS and Opening Times

Access to the Conway and Witt Libraries is by reader’s card, arranged on arrival. Cards are available at £10.00 for one year (£7.00 for Courtauld alumni and Friends of The Courtauld), £5.00 for one month, or £2.00 for one day or one single visit.

Members of The Courtauld’s Samuel Courtauld Society (including Associates, Patrons and Director’s Circle members) receive complimentary entry and simply use their regular membership cards to gain access.

The library is open from Monday to Friday between the hours of 11am and 4pm, except at Christmas (Tuesday 23rd December 2014 – Thursday 1st January 2015 inclusive), Easter (Thursday 2nd – Tuesday 7th April 2015 inclusive) and Bank Holidays (Monday 4th and Monday 25th May 2015, Monday 31st August and Tuesday 1st September 2015).

Library enquiries

+44 (0)20 7848 2743