Members Event: Ashby and the Abruzzo

In April 2009 L’Aquila, capital of the central Italian Abruzzo region, was struck by an earthquake which claimed more than 300 lives and destroyed much of this stunning city and nearby towns.

The BSR holds a unique photographic record of this area taken in the early 20th century by our third director, Thomas Ashby, and since the earthquake this has become a critically important historical resource for this once thriving medieval region. Ashby had a sharp sense of the transience of history, and made it his life’s work to capture and document his present before it became the past. He spent nearly twenty years painstakingly photographing the Abruzzo – his collection depicts a world of markets and farming, local customs and religious observances.

In 2011 a selection from the BSR Ashby collection was remastered and has toured the Abruzzo attracting over 25,000 visitors. Undertaken in collaboration with Ad.Venture srl and entirely funded by Italian institutions and companies this is a striking example of the collaboration between the BSR and the Italian community. This remarkable project vividly and poignantly demonstrates the importance of viewing the contemporary through the lens of history.

For the first time and for a limited period these vivid, poignant, intimate portraits are on display in the UK.


Thurs. 28th June 2012 18.00 – 22.30 Ashby and Abruzzo Exhibition and Reception
The British Academy 10 Carlton House Terrace, London