British photographic history

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Exhibition: Notre-Dame of Paris: Photographs and images from the Conway Library at the Courtauld.

Lindy Grant, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Reading and Tom Nickson, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art, have created an online exhibition of images of Notre-Dame de Paris from the collections of the Conway Library of the Courtauld Institute of Art.

This exhibition consists of texts and engravings by British artists showing the cathedral before the 19th century restorations and photographs taken during the restorations of Viollet-le-Duc. It is completed by photos taken by a British tourist in 1911 and by the famous architectural photographer A.F. Kersting (1916-2008) in 1958 and 1964. Finally, photographs of the Macmillan Commission, created during the Second World War to record damage to buildings in Europe, are presented.

Thanks to Lindy Grant and Tom Nickson for this initiative to discover the images of Notre-Dame in the collections of the Conway Library. Link to the exhibition: https://courtauld.ac.uk/study/resources/image-libraries/notre-dame

"This online exhibition features images of the cathedral of Notre-Dame taken from the Conway Library at The Courtauld. We have chosen images that help to tell the story of the cathedral. Many of them are photographs taken in the 19th century, during the restoration of the cathedral by Viollet-le-Duc. We have included some prints made by English artists which show the cathedral before the restoration. Evocative images of the cathedral in its cityscape are found in photographs by a British tourist, taken around 1911, and by the great architectural photographer A. F. Kersting in the third quarter of the 20th century. The early post-war city captured by Kersting now seems almost as remote as that of 1911. Photographs from the Macmillan Commission recording war damage in Europe during the Second World War show the emotive power of the cathedral and its ability to survive.

The Conway Library at The Courtauld is a collection of approximately one million photographic and printed images of architecture, sculpture and medieval painting. It was founded by the journalist, mountaineer, politician and pioneering art historian, Martin Conway, Lord Conway of Allington. Conway began collecting images of works of art as a student in the 1880s, and bequeathed his collection to The Courtauld Institute of Art when it was founded in 1932. The collection has been augmented since then by gifts from several other photographers and collectors (including Kersting and the Macmillan Collection), and by an active programme of photography in the second half of the 20th century. A project to provide a digitised version of the entire collection is currently underway."

Taken (and in part translated from) Société française d'Archéologie a href="mailto:sfa.lettreinfo@gmail.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sfa.lettreinfo@gmail.com>
SFA. Lettre d'information N ° 32

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