British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access


The Photographic Collection, dating from 1827 to the present day, is one of the best in the world for 19th Century and early 20th Century photography, with an overwhelming emphasis on historical and technical development, art photography and aesthetics, pictorialism, cultural and social values and the evolution of photographic processes. It is unique in its breath, integration and great depth, where each part of it relates to each other part. The most important, best known, best researched and most seen collections are those of the major photographers, like Talbot, Hill & Adamson, Fenton, Cameron, Evans, and Coburn, and American Photo Secessionists such as Steichen, Stieglizt, White, Kasebier etc, but there is an equal wealth of material amongst the lesser known items, such as early colour, large collections of hitherto unprinted glass negatives, albums, lantern slides, etc, which relate to and support the main bodies of work by putting them in context. There are also collections of more contemporary work by Karsh, Edward Weston, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Walter Poucher, Martin Parr and other present-day exhibitors.

N.B. The collection has now transferred to the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford
Arts; Glass negatives, photography; Lantern slides; Photography
Membership is open to everyone with a real interest in photography. Gallery opening hours: Seven days a week, 0930-1730.

Moving Image, Audio and Related Documentation Holdings

13,000 books. The Rare Book Collection comprises some 1,100 pre-1900 items, including foreign-language material. 2,000 pamphlets. 85 bound volumes of pamphlets, in English, French and German date from the 1850s and 1860s.
6,000 cameras and other items of equipment.
120 current titles. 13,000 bound periodicals.
Fox Talbot Papers relating to the invention of photography, The Linked Ring Papers include several hundred letters, catalogues, notebooks and press cuttings relating to the period 1892-1910 of British Secession photography. Hurter and Driffield Bequest papers on sensitometry. Walter Woodbury (inventor of the Woodburytype, used in 19th Century book illustration) Papers. There is an archive of approx 5,000 letters to, from and about photographers.
The Linked Ring papers include press cuttings.
Still Images
250,000 prints


Computerised database
The RPS has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Grant to document and catalogue part of its Photographic Collection on an electronic database.
Card catalogue
It is the RPS’s increasing concern to catalogue, copy, make available, contextualize and explain what the Collection is all about.

Main Contact

The Collection Department
01274 202030
The Octagon
Milsom Street

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