CAA News Today

Witt and Conway Libraries at the Courtauld to Remain Open

posted by Christopher Howard — Aug 27, 2009

Rumors have been circulating this summer about a possible closure of the Witt Library and the Conway Library at the Courtauld Institute of Art in England, a situation reported on last month by Martin Bailey in the Art Newspaper. The good news is that the two libraries will remain open for scholars and the public—but only after a two-month temporary shuttering beginning early next month. Yesterday CAA received the following missive from the venerable London-based art institution:

The Courtauld Institute of Art is pleased to confirm that the Witt and Conway Libraries will remain open to the public five days a week and [that] the Photographic Survey collections will continue to be accessible by appointment, contrary to concerns recently expressed by some members of the art community.

Like other higher education institutions worldwide, The Courtauld has had to review all its operational activities and services in the light of the current economic climate. This review has led to a decision to restructure the management of our image libraries in order to minimise their net cost to the Institute. To allow time to implement the agreed changes, these libraries will be temporarily closed from 7 September 2009 and will reopen on 2 November 2009. They will then be open to the public from Monday to Friday between the hours of 11am and 4pm (subject to usual Bank Holidays etc).

Requests for photographs, rights and reproduction rights from the Witt and Conway Libraries should continue to be addressed to Courtauld Images: +44 (0)20 7848 2879, or via

The Witt Library houses a collection of about 2 million reproductions of Western paintings, drawings, and prints from 1200 AD to the present. The Conway Library has more than 1 million images, including photographs and cuttings of architecture, architectural drawings and publications, sculpture, ivories, seals, metalwork, manuscript illumination, stained glass, wall paintings, panel paintings, and textiles.

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