How to order images


Here's a guide to using the British Library's Imaging Services. It covers everything you need to know about ordering images from the British Library

You can order images from the British Library using our online order form. Before doing this, however, we recommend you check the following:

  • That the item you want is not already available to buy and download from Images Online, our online picture library
  • That you are allowed to copy the material you want under copyright law or have obtained permission to copy it from the rights holder
  • That you will be able to use the image you order in the way you want. If you want to reproduce the image in a publication or broadcast, you will need to obtain permissions from the Library and sometimes from the rights holders of the material
  • That you have calculated the prices of the items you wish to order using our price list.
  • If you want to order full articles or chapters, please use the British Library On Demand service.

Completing the order form

After you’ve entered your personal details into the order form, you need to select your delivery method and then provide details of the material you want to order. You can order up to five items per form. If you need to order more items, please complete a separate order form.

You will need the British Library shelfmark or manuscript number for each item. Shelfmarks can be found by searching Explore the British Library and manuscript numbers can be found by searching Explore Archives and Manuscripts.

You’ll also need to provide the title of the item and the pages or folio numbers you want. If you can, it’s also advisable to provide the author and publication date to help us find the right item. You can give us any further information you think would help us to get your order right, for example if you only want the illustration on a page, tell us that in the additional information box or email

For each item, select the kind of image you want us to produce for you. Details of our products and prices are available on our pricing page.


When you submit your Imaging Services order online, we will confirm the details of your order before you pay. This will include an order reference number. You should make a note of this number so you can quote it if you get in contact with us about your order.

Collection guides

Royal manuscripts

Manuscripts collected by English sovereigns from Edward IV onwards

Western illuminated manuscripts

Approximately 9,000 manuscripts with decoration or illumination

Sale catalogues

An essential resource for provenance research

King’s manuscripts

Medieval and post-medieval manuscripts and topographical material

Medieval and early modern British historical manuscripts

Sources for British history before 1600


A wide-ranging collection of fine and historic bindings

Medieval and early modern British literary manuscripts

Sources for British literature before 1600

Sloane manuscripts

Manuscripts and artefacts gathered by the physician Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753)

Arundel manuscripts

Medieval and early modern manuscripts collected by Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel

Hebrew collections

Manuscripts copied over 1,000 years ago to the most recent monographs and serials

Manuscript maps

Cartography from the Middle Ages to the present

Music manuscripts and archives

Sources for vocal and instrumental works from the Middle Ages to the present

Major named collections of printed books

Named Collection of printed books

Modern Scientific Manuscripts

Western manuscripts for the history of science, technology and medicine in the modern period

Classical Latin manuscripts

Manuscripts of Latin authors from before 600