History of Art

The Nativity - Jan de Beer

The University provides the largest range of specialist and general texts, journals, rare books and early printed books, manuscripts and electronic resources for the study of History of Art in the West Midlands. This includes an internationally important collection of exhibition and sales catalogues.

Our libraries

The Barber Fine Art Library

The Barber Fine Art Library contains general and specialist research-level texts reflecting the collection profile of the Barber Institute art collection. This covers most of the European schools of painting from the early Renaissance to twenty-first century, the history of collection, and some Byzantine art.

A substantial proportion of items are in the original language of publication, mainly in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

The collection includes:

  • Monographs, catalogues raisonnées, and pamphlets
  • Exhibition catalogues and catalogues of permanent collections
  • Guide books from galleries around the world including some eighteenth and nineteenth century material 
  • An internationally important collection of sales catalogues from major auction houses dating back to the late seventeenth century
  • Over 150 periodicals

Please note: Not all material in the Barber Fine Art is on open access. Some items should be requested in advance. Visitors coming some distance are advised to contact the Barber Fine Art Library to check availability of material and arrangements to consult it.

Main Library

Our Main Library hosts a general collection of books and journals including African, Byzantine and Ancient Art and the urban environment.

Orchard Learning Resource Centre

The Orchard Learning Resource Centre houses a general collection of books particularly strong in decorative arts, gardening and architecture.

Special Collections

Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections holds a number of important archive collections available for research. These include: