THE BRITISH LIBRARY Catalogue of Photographically Illustrated Books
Detail from Catalogue of Photographically Illustrated Books
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The database is designed to accommodate the nature and diversity of photographically illustrated books, photographs, scientific monographs and technical books (text only) published in different languages, relating to the history of photography. Complete bibliographic details of each work are contained in the book records. Where a book contains early photographs or early photo-mechanical prints general information is recorded in the photography section. In addition, there are individual records for each photograph in a book.

Searching the database

Two basic search options are possible: simple and advanced.

Simple search

This page allows you to use a single keyword search on all fields for the bibliographic and photographic data which is divided into: Books and photographs, Photographs only and Books only.

Advanced search

This option allows you to find detailed information on photographically illustrated books, photographers, titles and descriptions of photographs. You can search on one type of information or combinations.


Photographer: Abney
Publication date: 1878

will retrieve books which contain photographs by Capt. W. de W. Abney; a list of photographs and their titles is provided; further information is available by clicking on the title of the photograph for a full record of the individual photograph (process, size, printer, etc). In this example digital images of a selection of photographs are available on-screen.

Author: Abney
Start date: 1870
End date: 1878

Complete records will be shown of all works written or edited by Capt within the dates specified.

The following fields are searchable on the database:

Bibliographic information

Shelfmark: BL catalogue and location entry
Author: author/s, editor/s of text
Title: title of book
Publisher: name and location of publisher
Country: country of publication
Subject: subject of text
Acquisition: the date the book entered the British Library
Notes: information relating to photography
Description: basic information on photographs
Publication date: the date the book was published.
Start year: beginning of range of publication dates
End year: final publication date in range

Photography information

Photographer: name and location of photographer
Process: type of photograph or print
Size: size or range of sizes
Printer: name of printer (or company) of original photograph
Genre: genre of image (e.g. portrait, landscape)
Title: complete title of individual photograph as used in the book

Image Required

If the photograph has been digitised, a screen image is made available by clicking the square icon.

See also the glossary of terms used in this collection

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All text is © British Library Board and is available under a CC-BY Licence except where otherwise stated