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Guildhal Library, Guildhall Gallery of Art, and Corporation of London
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Reviewed by:
Wayne Hanley
West Chester University
January 2004

This intriguing website offers more than 20,000 historical images. Reproductions of paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sculptures provide more than a glimpse into the history of London and London life from the 15th century to the present. The cultural history of London can be explored through online exhibitions and through the versatile search engine, making this site and its collections valuable classroom resources.

Among the current online exhibitions are “Henry Dixon’s London,” “London’s Railways,” “Children in Painting,” “Victorian Paintings,” “Landscapes and Seascapes,” “Tudor London,” “London and London Life,” and “The London that never was.” Follow the links to a related collection of images and then click on thumbnail images to reach enlarged versions, complete with bibliographic information. Users may enlarge images further, put the image in a “basket” (for purchase), or email them.

All of the images are well cross-referenced, with links to broad categories (such as “street life,” “dress,” and “food and tableware”) listed at the bottom of the screen, making browsing easy. Images, however, bear a watermarked “C.” To use the image, the Corporation of London must be petitioned according to “Reproduction Rights“ instructions. Although the fees are fairly reasonable, the cost is a potential drawback for everyday classroom use. For those willing to spend a little money, the COLLAGE collection can provide high-quality images for presentations, research projects, and as primary-source documents.

Users may also browse the collection by selecting one of the following categories: “Abstract Ideas,” “Archeology and Architecture,” “Artist,” “Engraver,” “History,” “Leisure,” “Military and War,” “Natural World,” “People,” “Places,” “Politics,” “Publisher,” “Religion & Belief,” “Society,” and “Trade & Industry.” A keyword “search“ is also available, as is an advanced search that allows for queries by artist, date, picture type, medium, collection, and support.

Finally, a links page includes URLs for PhotoLondon, the Guildhall Art Gallery, the Museum of London, London’s Transportation Museum, and the Virtual Library List of UK Museums. COLLAGE can best be viewed using Internet Explorer or Safari (formatting is not fully compatible with Netscape Navigator).

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