Archives & Library

Photo Archive Collections

The Photographic Archive are mounted reference images. There are two collections: The Paul Mellon Centre Photographic Archive and The Tate Photographic Archive. The collections cover British painting and drawing from approximately 1500 to 2000 and are particularly strong on the work of 18th-century artists. The PMCPA collection has been digitised in its entirety. The Tate collection is available to consult in our Public Study Room.

Tate Photographic Archive

This is a collection of photographs, cuttings and occasionally postcards which was assembled as a reference collection for curators at the Tate. The focus is on paintings but it also covers works on paper and sculpture. The collection is on British artists but also includes foreign artists working in Britain and foreign artists painting British subjects abroad. The period covered is 16th -20th century with the real strengths of the collection lying in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the material is closed to the public because it contains sensitive information. We are in the process of updating the catalogue records. Please contact Collections staff for further information.


The collection is arranged A-Z by artist and is mainly black and white. Images are mounted on card with essential information on the artist and title included on the mount. More detailed information was sometimes added in the form of cuttings from sale and exhibition catalogues.


Images were acquired on an ad hoc basis by curators at the Tate in the course of their work and as such was not available to members of the public. The collection was known as the ‘mini-Witt’. The Tate donated the collection to The Paul Mellon Centre in March 2009

3311 files in approximately 350 boxes

Catalogued by artist name.

These materials have all been catalogued on our Library and Photographic Archive catalogue.