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Visual Arts Data Services

Surrey Institute of Art and Design, University College

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This site’s 36 image collections come from libraries and archives from around the world. Three are of particular interest for studying world history. First, the African and Asian Visual Artist Archives site contains contemporary visual art by artists of African and Asian descent working in the United Kingdom since the post-World War II period. VADS makes available about 2,000 prints, paintings, and photographs from the archive. Second, VADS provides about 2,000 posters and prints related to Britain’s involvement in 20th-century wars from the Imperial War Museum collection. Third, the Spanish Civil War Poster Collections site contains 85 posters created in Britain relating to the Spanish Civil War, with examples of both Republican and Nationalist views concerning recruitment, propaganda, and agriculture. Other archives that may be of interest are the John Johnson Collections of political posters from the 1500s to the 1900s; images of London trade and industry from the past 300 years; and the Women’s Library Suffrage Banners Collection from the early 20th century. To begin using the archive, click on “Search” and then complete a simple registration form. Browsing is not an option, and the images do not enlarge to full screen. The site does provides a lightbox feature, allowing users to choose images, create a personal gallery, and email images. For detailed information about each VADS archive, visit “Explore Collections” on the VADS home page.

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