Chipstone, Longridge, and NC Earthenware Collection Images [SEARCH]
This searchable image collection, created at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, provides images and descriptive information for the Chipstone collections of Early American furniture, ceramics, and prints; for the Longridge collection of British 17th-18th century ceramics; and for the North Carolina earthenware collection of 18th-19th century Moravian pottery. [more information]
Included in the following section are image collections especially useful for the study of decorative arts or material culture. Note that individual museum websites, listed elsewhere on this website, may also provide images.
Ad*Access from Duke University is a database of over 7,000 North American print advertisements from 1911-1955. Duke has a rich collection of resources for the history of advertising. Also see their "Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920." (link provided below)
American Memory, compiled by the Library of Congress, National Digital Library, is a gateway to primary source materials regarding the history and culture of the United States. Over 9 million items are available, including documents, photos, sound recordings, moving pictures, books, pamphlets, and maps.
Archive of Early American Images, primary source images printed or created between 1492 and c.1825, from the holdings of the John Carter Brown Library.
Bayou Bend Collection presents images from this house museum's extensive collection of American decorative arts. Bayou Bend is affiliated with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The British Museum's Department of Prints and Drawings owns some of the earliest surviving representations of America (by John White, fl. 1585-93) among their holdings of 2 million prints and 50,000 drawings. Search British Museum collections online, limit to images only.
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Collections Online provides several thousand images from their collections of decorative and folk arts.
Denver Public Library's Western History/Genealogy Department Digital Collection provides images of early Colorado.
Digital Archive of American Architecture, by Prof. Jeffrey Howe of Boston College, contains 1,500 images of American architecture (17th-20th century buildings).
Domestic Interiors Database compiled by the AHRC Center for the Study of the Domestic Interior, contains 3,000 visual and textual entries relating to ways the domestic interior has been represented since the Renaissance in Europe and North America.
Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920 , from Duke University, is a database of over 3,300 advertising items from 1850-1920. Also see their "Ad*Access" (link provided above).
Farber Gravestone Collection contains 13,500 images documenting sculpture on gravestones. Most of the gravestones date before 1800 and are located in the Northeastern region of the United States. The site is sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society.
The J. Paul Getty Museum's Explore the Collection webpage provides images of works in the Getty collections. These include a variety of European decorative arts ranging in time from classical antiquity to date. Aside from museum collections, the Getty Research Institute also has an extensive library (Overview) and online digital collections.
The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Online Catalog, includes descriptive records and many digital images for the photographs, prints, posters and drawings in their collection. Approximately 1.2 million images are online, out of a total collection of over 14 million items. Also see their guide to other image-rich websites (Picture Catalogs Online).
The Library of Virginia's Virginia Memory Online Photo Collections document the history of Virginia.
London maps and topographical prints of 18th and 19th century London and Great Britain are accessible via the MOTCO UK Directory and Image database. An electronic facsimile of John Rocque's 1746 map of London is available online.
London's history, society and art are represented in Collage, an image database of 130,000 works (prints, drawings, paintings and watercolors) from the Guildhall Art Gallery and London Metropolitan Archives.
National Museum of American History (Smithsonian) collections contain over three million artifacts, with selections searchable online or browsable by subject or object groups, e.g. American samplers.
The New York Public Library Digital Gallery includes over 800,000 images digitized from their vast holdings of prints, posters, photos, maps, and illustrated books and manuscripts. The images can be keyword searched or browsed via thematic collections. The well known NYPL Mid-Manhattan Library Picture Collection is one part of the larger database. Other subcollections of possible interest for American material culture are: Empire and Regency, Decoration in the Age of Napoleon; as well as Ornament and Pattern: Pre-Victorian to Art Deco; and Picturing America, 1497-1899.
Smithsonian Institution Collections Search provides access to images, video, sound files, and more from the Smithsonian's museums, archives and libraries.
SPIRO is the image catalog of the University of California at Berkeley's Architecture Visual Resources Library of 250,000 slides and 20,000 photographs.
Formerly called the Thinker ImageBase, the collections database of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco includes images of objects from the deYoung Museum and its holdings of American decorative arts.
The Victoria & Albert Museum collections database contains over a million records, many with images, of ceramics, furniture, metalwork, paintings, textiles, and more. The museum is notable for making images available for scholarly publishing without fees. See their terms and conditions. Also find style guides to Palladianism, Neo-Classicism, Rococco, and more by exploring the website under the heading "Discover the V&A."
The Winterthur Museum Collections digital database provides entries, many with images, for their collection of 90,000 objects dating from 1600 to 1860. Objects include ceramics, furniture, glass, metalwork, textiles, prints and paintings.
The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database provides images and descriptive information for furniture, ceramics, textiles, and other 19th and early 20th century material culture artifacts from Wisconsin museums and historical sites. Also see the project's blog: Wisconsin Object.
An African American Album: The Black Experience in Charlotte & Mecklenburg County is a pictorial history of African Americans in that region from slavery to the mid-twentieth century.
The American Antiquarian Society's website includes online exhibitions (e.g. "A Woman's Work Is Never Done") and illustrated inventories such as the inventory of their Paul Revere collection and their European politican prints collection.
America in Caricature 1765-1865 is an online exhibition from the Lilly Library, Indiana University's rare book and manuscript library.
America Votes: Presidential Campaign Memorabilia from the Duke University Special Collections Library, contains images of documents from selected presidential campaigns from John Adams to Bush/Cheney.
Angelica Singelton Van Buren 1817-1877 is an exhibition from Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina, of books once owned by Angelica Singleton Van Buren.
Anglo-American Mourning Jewelry, 17th to 19th centuries is an exhibit by the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Binary Visions: 19th Century Woven Coverlets from the Collection of Historic Huguenot Street is presented by New York State's Hudson River Valley Heritage organization.
Chicago Public Library Digital Collections includes virtual exhibits primarily associated with the history and culture of Chicago.
Colonial Williamsburg Online Exhibits include topics of clothing, coins, mapping of colonial America, and more. The Digital History Center uses new technology to present Williamsburg via interactive maps, virtual buildings, and more.
Expositions of industrial arts began on a national level in the 18th century and expanded to international scope in the 19th century. These exhibitions contributed to wide transmission of design ideas and industrial techniques for the manufacture of objects of decorative art and material culture. For a variety of virtual exhibits and informative websites on these expositions, see the following: Expomuseum, EarthStation9, The Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1851 (University of Kansas), 1851 Project: The Great Exhibition (Victoria & Albert Museum, London), Photographs of International Expositions (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). The Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia 1876 (Free Library of Philadelphia), and The Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia 1876 (Univ. of Delaware Library). Complete electronic facsimiles of three illustrated catalogs: Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue: the Industry of All Nations, 1851; Illustrated Catalogue of the Universal Exhibition, published with the Art Journal [1867-1868], and Masterpieces of the Centennial International Exhibition Illustrated, 1876-78 (3 volumes), are available on the e-facsimile portion of this site.
Haggerty Museum at Marquette University, in conjunction with the Chipstone Foundation, has mounted exhibits related to material culture, with virtual exhibits online:
Legacies, from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, tells the stories behind more than 250 representative objects collected by the museum since it was founded in 1846. The objects range from Appomattox Court House furniture to Judy Garland's ruby slippers. "These objects reflect not just the lives of the people who made and used them but also the values of the people who chose to preserve them. They represent different answers to the question: What is worth saving?"
Library of Congress Exhibitions provides links to the many Library of Congress virtual exhibits.
Milwaukee Art Museum, in conjunction with the Chipstone Foundation, has mounted a number of exhibitions related to material culture, with virtual exhibits online at the Chipstone website:
Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History provides several illustrated thematic essays relating to material culture in their American Art: Colonial Art subsection. For example, see topics such as: "Coffee, Tea and Chocolate in Early Colonial America," "English Pattern Books in Eighteenth Century America," "American Rococo," "American Needlework in the Eighteenth Century," and coverage of individual artists including John Townsend and Paul Revere.
Mexico: From Empire to Revolution and A Nation Emerges: 65 Years of Photography in Mexico, from the Getty Research Institute, present photographs from the mid-19th to early-20th centuries.
A Notion to Sew: the 19th Century Needlework of Hylah Hasbrouck and her Daughters at Locust Lawn is presented by New York State's Hudson River Valley Heritage organization.
Portraits, Worcester [Mass.] Portraits in the American Antiquarian Society Collection, provides access to images of 31 local residents via portraits dating from the 18th through the 20th centuries.
Winterthur Online Exhibitions include topics related to the many types of decorative and fine art objects at Winterthur as well as exhibitions including objects from other collections.