New RCAHMS digital image library

RCAHMS, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, has recently made thousands of images available in a new online digital image library. Through active surveying and recording programmes, RCAHMS adds new online images to the Canmore database every day. These include interior and exterior views of buildings and archaeological sites, aerial photographs, and digital drawings, all of which may be of interest as inspiration for artists, architects and designers.

RCAHMS also maintains an active digitisation programme of its Collection items, copying photographs and historic views, photograph albums, original architects’ drawings and new survey drawings, engravings and sketches, books and maps, and also receives material from external depositors and accessions.

When you search Canmore for buildings or archaeological sites of interest, anything from the Collections that has already been digitised will be shown (excluding copyright restricted images). There are already 200,000 digital images available online.

Furthermore, all images can be purchased as digital images, photographic prints or poster prints by clicking the Order Image link below each image.

Portobello Pier in Edinburgh was opened in 1871 and demolished after 1918. From the Photograph Albums Collection. DP137192. Image credit: RCAHMS

Portobello Pier in Edinburgh was opened in 1871 and demolished after 1918. From the Photograph Albums Collection. DP137192. Image credit: RCAHMS

Search our artwork on the UMIS Revealing the Hidden Collections website

UntitledIt’s now possible to search the records of our artwork on the new UMIS (University Museums in Scotland) Revealing the Hidden Collections website.

Scottish universities hold a high proportion of Scotland’s nationally important collections – more than 1.8 million items. Over 60% of Scottish University Museum collections are uncatalogued, with information on just 7.5% available on the web. Collections in five of the universities, including the entire holdings of the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow and select collections from the Glasgow School of Art, University of St Andrews, and University of Edinburgh have been designated as Recognised Collections by Museums Galleries Scotland.

Revealing the Hidden Collections is bringing the treasures held by university museums across Scotland, including our own, into the light of the 21st century.

A handy tip: enter your keywords in the search bar and be sure to select “item records” before hitting “search”. You can filter your search to include only items from our collection by choosing “select collections” and choosing “Glasgow School of Art” from the dropdown menu.

Happy searching! If you find anything of interest do get in touch with us to learn more.


Download a masterpiece from the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum, which holds masterpieces by, amongst others, Rembrandt, van Gogh and Vermeer, has taken the unusual step of not just allowing – but encouraging – people to download high-resolution images of items from its collections at no cost. They have even provided an interactive section of their website, Rijkstudio, where users are invited to copy and transform artworks into stationery, T-shirts, plates and even toilet paper.

While many have digitized their collections and made low-resolution images available in online catalogues, museums (and archives too) have generally always been highly-protective of supplying high-quality images of items from their collections (though allowing use through Creative Commons is becoming more and more popular). Usually these are available only by request to genuine researchers, scholars and publishers with strict restrictions on how they can be used, a) to preserve copyright and b) to maintain control over potential revenues.  The Rijksmuseum’s collections however, mostly predate Dutch copyright laws, and users of the Rijkstudio are advised to refrain from using the website for commercial gain.

Taco Dibbits, Director of Collections at the Rijksmuseum has said:

We’re a public institution, and so the art and objects we have, are, in a way, everyone’s property… With the internet, it’s so difficult to control your copyright or use of images that we decided we’d rather people use a very good high-resolution image from the Rijksmueum rather than using a very bad reproduction… If they want to have a Vermeer on their toilet paper, I’d rather have a very high-quality image of Vermeer on toilet paper than a very bad reproduction.

Jan Davidsz de Heem

Still Life by Jan Davidsz de Heem, 17th Century, which has been reworked into a tattoo template by Dutch design cooperative Droog

To inspire users, Dutch design cooperative Droog were invited to create products based on the Rijsmuseum’s artwork. So they used part of a 17th century still life of a flower by Jan Davidsz de Heem to create a template for a tattoo. See here for more examples of how they’ve used the collections.

Visit the Rijkstudio and create your own masterpiece from a masterpiece.

RCAHMS now on Flickr

View of clock-tower at Singer's Sewing Machine Factory, Clydebank. Demolished 15 March 1963. Image credit: RCAHMS

View of clock-tower at Singer’s Sewing Machine Factory, Clydebank.
Demolished 15 March 1963. Image credit: RCAHMS

RCAHMS (The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland) has launched a Flickr site.

RCAHMS collects, records and interprets information on the architectural, industrial, archaeological and maritime heritage of Scotland. It holds an archive of over 18 million items including photographs and albums from the 1840s to the present day, original architects’ drawings, excavation plans, new survey drawings, engravings, sketches, books, manuscripts and maps, offering a unique insight into the special nature of Scotland’s places. RCAHMS’ database Canmore contains images and information on over 300,000 archaeological and architectural sites across Scotland, and over 150,000 images are available to view online on their website.

RCAHMS will be updating their Flickr site with images from their collection regularly. So far they have published a lovely photo of the Singer Sewing Machine Factory in Clydebank, and The Fife Earth Project at Lassodie.

Visit their Flickr, and see the RCAHMS website for more information.

The Needlework Development Scheme

GSA's Archivist Susannah shows ECA researchers Lindy and Lucie some items from our Needlework Development Scheme textile collection.

GSA Archivist Susannah shows ECA researchers Lindy and Lucie some items from our Needlework Development Scheme textile collection

Researchers from Edinburgh College of Art visited us last week to have a look at some items from our textile collection and to discuss the Needlework Development Scheme. Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections Centre has a collection of around 125 textiles that were formerly part of the Needlework Development Scheme, (1936-1962), a sheme set up by thread manufacturers J & P Coats with the stated aim being to encourage greater interest in embroidery and raise the standard of design. When the scheme disbanded, the textile collection was split up between various Scottish institutions.

F40_NDS1075, Embroidered apron, Portugal, 19th century

F40_NDS1075, embroidered apron, Portugal, 19th century, an item from GSA’s Needlework Development Scheme textile collection

Lindy Richardson and Lucie Whitmore from Edinburgh College of Art were excited to see our collection of textiles from the scheme, as they have recently uncovered a number of items themselves. Edinburgh College of Art are now looking for people with memories of the Needlework Development Scheme. See below:

NDS poster