The Archive is a repository of historical material and its main role is to safeguard and preserve its collections, which include photographs, documents and administrative records, and make them available for research and publication. Most of this material is unknown outside the BSR and has not been published yet.

This rich and varied material, neglected for many years and underestimated as an important resource for research, is now receiving the attention it deserves. Over the last 10 years we have worked on the cleaning and reorganisation of all the collections to provide our users with improved access.

We are not, however, only concerned with history but also with the contemporary, encouraging artists to engage with the collections as a source of inspiration for their practise.

Our aim is to publish all the collections on our website, as funding becomes available and this is only possible through the generous support of our friends and donors.

The Photographic Archive

  • contains c.120,000 items – prints and negatives of rare and unique collections
  • includes calotypes, glass negatives, nitrate and acetate negatives, early photographic prints, 35 mm film, postcards, slides and lantern slides
  • covers many subjects including Italian and North African archaeology and topography, ancient Greek and Roman art, in particular sculpture, and European medieval and Renaissance art and architecture

The Historic Archive

  • includes documents, Directors’ correspondence, administrative records, past scholars records and material relating to the BSR since its foundation in 1901
  • a partial paper Finding Aid is available for consultation only at the BSR

These records are enormously valuable as they document the history and activities of the BSR through its past Directors and Scholars, who have contributed to build its reputation in the academic world over the last hundred years.

Using the Archive

The Photographic and Historic Archive of the British School at Rome is open for consultation to BSR Residents and Library Members by appointment. A one month Library Membership is available at Euro 10 for researchers requiring short-term access only.

Digital reproductions of the material may also be ordered.

To arrange an appointment please contact the Archivist Alessandra Giovenco.


The first video below shows a timelapse of a kilometre of books being removed from the Library in preparation for the works, and the second video shows those books being returned at the beginning of December 2015. More details can be found on our blog.