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Subject-specific eGuides

History of Art

Searching for resources

There are two key library catalogues you may use when studying at Cambridge:

Girton Library catalogue (Heritage) – search Girton Library’s collection and see if items are available or already on loan. See our eGuide for further information.

iDiscover – to search across the University’s print and electronic collections (including books, eBooks, journals, newspapers, articles and much more, from other colleges, faculty and department libraries, and the University Library. Most, but not all, of Girton’s collection can be found here. See our Searching iDiscover eGuide for further information.

You will be able to borrow from Girton’s Library and the University Library and you may also find it helpful to visit and use the Philosophy Library (Casimir Lewy Library). However, there may be other libraries within Cambridge which stock useful resources. For a full list of the Cambridge libraries see the directory and check each library for access guidelines.

Search Spacefinder to find places of study outside of College.

Subject-specific resources

Full Text & Image Databases

  • Artstor This Digital Library provides access to 2.5+ million images of the world’s cultural heritage, all rights-cleared for use in education. The 280+ collections feature visual media from leading museums, photo archives, scholars, and artists.
  • Oxford Art Online This is a scholarly art encyclopedia. You can search for thousands of articles and images by movements, locations, and periods. The subscription includes access to the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms.
  • International Bibliography of Art (IBA) This database cross searches over 12,000 journal titles. It focuses on scholarly literature on Western Art.
  • Oxford Bibliographies Articles are written and reviewed by academic experts on key subjects in art history, with recommendations for further reading.
  • A&AePortal Delve into art and architectural history in a new way. It is an authoritative eBook resource that features important works of scholarship in the history of art, architecture, decorative arts, photography, and design. With innovative functionality and extensive metadata, the site includes many out-of-print titles, a key backlist, and recent releases from some of the world’s finest academic and museum publishers.
  • Bloomsbury International Encyclopedia of Surrealism It is an exclusive digital resource presenting the first comprehensive and systematic overview of one of the most influential and enduring 20th-century art movements, from its beginnings to the present day.

Library Collections & Photo Archives

  • Arachne Object database of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne.
  • Archivio Storico Istituto Luce Photographs and film footage documenting events and changing society in the 20th century Italy, from L.U.C.E. (L'Unione Cinematografica Educativa, founded in 1924).
  • Art and Architecture (Courtauld Institute, London) Originating with the Courtauld Institute’s multiple image archives, provides access to more than 40,000 images, plus a network of over half a million links.
  • British Cartoon Archive (Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury) The BCA holds the artwork for more than 150,000 British editorial, socio-political, and pocket, comic strips, newspaper cuttings, books and magazines.
  • Corsair (Morgan Library, New York) Access to 15,000+ digitized images from Morgan's collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Users may page through every illustrated leaf within a manuscript, or search for individual images by place or date of creation, artist's name, illustration type, and subject.
  • Country Life Picture Library Images of country houses and gardens, interiors and architectural details, historic buildings and churches from the photo archive of Country Life magazine. All images reference the original Country Life articles for which they were commissioned.
  • Enluminures (Ministère de la Culture and Institut de recherche d'histoire des textes, CNRS, Paris) 120 000 images from 5,000+ medieval manuscripts held by French municipal libraries.
  • Fondazione Zeri -- Fototeca (University of Bologna) Access to the photographic collection (ca. 200,000 images) assembled by art historian and connoisseur Fererico Zeri. The photographs document mainly Italian art, not only located in Italy but also elsewhere.
  • Frick Digital Image Archive (Frick Art Reference Library, New York) 15,000 images of works of art photographed between 1922 and 1967 in private homes and small public collections throughout the US.
  • Gothic Ivories Project (Courtauld Institute, London) Database of ivory sculptures made in Western Europe ca. 1200-ca. 1530, plus neo-Gothic ivory pieces. Objects & images come from a variety of institutions worldwide.
  • Gallica Bibliothèque Nationale de France Documents and images from the Bibliothèque Nationale.
  • Hoover Institution Political Poster Database (Stanford University) Images of the Hoover Institution’s posters collection assembled from around the world. Most of the posters convey a clearly political message, but others (e.g. those promoting tourism) are also included.
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC, Washington, DC) Catalogue records and digital images of still pictures held by the Library’s Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units. Includes photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in or documenting the history of, the United State and its inhabitants.
  • Life Photo Archive Images from the archive of Life magazine. Major areas covered: People, Places, Events, Sports and Culture.
  • National Gallery of Art Library's online catalogue (Washington, DC) 
  • NYPL’s Digital Gallery 700,000+ images digitized from New York Public Library's vast collections; including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, photographs, etc.
  • Photographic Portraits of American Artists (Smithsonian Institution, US) 4,700 photographs of artists working in the United States during the first three-quarters of the twentieth century. Created by the fine art photography firm Peter A. Juley & Son (active 1896-1975). Includes portraits of individual artists as well as group photos taken at the National Academy of Design, the Art Students League and at various artists’ colonies.
  • Terremoto It is a publication dedicated to contemporary art and critical thinking in the Americas. The goal of this magazine is to question the Eurocentric paradigms in art and to rethink society through the prism of artistic practice and critical research in the Global South.
  • VADS (Visual Arts Data Service) Union collection of UK-based image collections (although not all the objects are British). Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives. Periods covered: Medieval – Modern.
  • Wellcome Images Thousands of images from the Wellcome Trust's collections. Subjects covered range from history of science and medicine, social history to magic and alchemy. Includes many Western art paintings and prints; and some Sanscrit manuscripts, Buddhist paintings and Persian books. 

Museum & Art Gallery Collections

Other Image Collections

To find a list of History of Art journals online & in print go to History of Art Libguides.


Help within college

Library staff can provide support and assistance. You can book an appointment with us or ask a question via