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Fine Art Postcard Collection

Identifier: Coll-1048

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of photo albums (filed arbitrarly) and small drawer sets of postcards (filed geographically). They show European buildings, many ecclesiastical. The subjects are: Italian sculpture; paintings and drawings (possibly of French examples); church exteriors (England, Italy); church interiors (Italy, France, England); domestic exteriors (France); secular exteriors (Italy); secular interiors; doors and doorways (England); wells and fountains; bridges; gateways; steps and staircases; locations in Paris, London, Naples, Florence, Germany, Spain, Scotland, the Netherlands; locations in Venice, Lucerne, Einsiedeln, Baden-Baden, and Heidelberg; and, British secular architecture including landscapes and bridges. There are also many loose postcards.


  • Creation: 1895-1960

Language of Materials

English, French, German, Italian.

Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance

Biographical / Historical

History of Art (formerly the Department of Fine Art) is a popular and long-established department of Edinburgh University. It has the oldest full-time Chair of Art History in Britain which was founded in 1880. History of Art is located at Minto House, 20 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, opposite the Royal Museum of Scotland, and within easy walking distance of most of the galleries and museums of central Edinburgh. History of Art has book, slide and photographic collections, as well as a photographic unit. There is also a laboratory for the demonstration of metalworking techniques and methods of conservation.

A collection of postcards in photo albums and small file drawers was gathered together by members of Fine Art staff (in the Department's early years) for use as teaching aids before the advent of the popular colour slide format. The early postcard collection is important in that the cards are primarily of European buildings, many of which were lost or damaged during the revolutions and conflicts of the 20th century.


3 boxes and 17 file-drawer-set.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection came from the Department of Fine Art, Autumn 2004, through Elizabeth Ferro, Librarian, Accession no. E2004.31.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Processing Information

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Fine Art Postcard Collection
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379