Art & design
Westminster's Art and Design Collection, recognised as one of national significance by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, can be found on the first and second floors of Westminster Reference Library.
The main reference collection of some 8,000 books is on open access on the first floor. This represents only about a fifth of the collection, with many more books which can be supplied within minutes.
As well as the reference collection there are over 5,000 art and design books on open access on the second floor which, along with a further selection behind the scenes, make up the library's lending collection. These books can be borrowed by anyone with full membership of Westminster libraries.
About the Art and Design Library
Altogether the collection consists of over 40,000 volumes covering painting and drawing, fashion and furniture, architecture and antiques, ceramics and sculpture, textiles and jewellery, graphics and gardens, interiors and installations.
Get Art! Art Abstracts & Art Full Text [24/7]
Now accessible to library members from home or office. This is a growing database of full text articles from recent art journals, both mainstream and esoteric, fully searchable, supplemented by a vast abstracting and indexing service helping you to track down hard to find citations on poorly documented areas of research in over 500 titles dating back to 1984, on a wide range of visual arts.
Many of the items not reproduced in this resource can be found at Westminster Reference Library, who can also direct you to institutions holding periodicals not in our Collection. At this library, you can also extend your searches as far back as 1929, through Art Index Retrospective.
Our wide range of art magazines includes cutting edge titles such as Wallpaper, Flash Art, I-D, Artforum and Blueprint as well as long backfiles of Apollo, Burlington, Country Life and Vogue. You can check our journals holdings in the library or online, and pin-point articles both in hard copy magazines and eJournals, through Art Abstracts & Art Full Text accessible remotely via 24/7 Library or Art Index Retrospective accessible from within the library.
You can search over 50 years of art auction records/prices in a single click of a mouse, in Art Sales Index - a quick way to find out how valuable that picture in the attic might be! We also have price guides to antiques, stamps, coins and collectibles.
Exhibition catalogues are often the first and sometimes only record of an artist or a work of art. We have nearly 6,000 catalogues for exhibitions shown in most of the major galleries in London, some dating from the 1940's. Indeed, we currently subscribe to those of over 20 galleries and museums.
Get Smart! FASHION MONITOR
We now subscribe to the powerful fashion industry online database. Whether you are creating for the catwalk, running with the rag trade or eking out employment opportunities in the industry, this is your key to success, with thousands of contact details, event announcements, job adverts and up to the minute news items on what is going on, down and up in the world of clothing and accessories. Available for free at Westminster Reference Library.
Looking for an image?
Our collections are very much geared towards picture research, including all fields of design, many photography books, illustrated general reference resources, and free internet access.
There are both black & white and colour photocopying facilities within the building.
Resources such as dictionaries of art, the National Portrait Gallery's collection and the Bridgeman Art Library Archive are amongst a wide variety of useful image and information resources.
Combines Grove Art with its 45,000 articles with the Oxford Companion to Western Art, the Encyclopaedia of Aesthetics and the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms.
An archive of printed material.
These resources are available in all Westminster libraries and from home using a Westminster library card. For these resources and more go to view the list of Exclusive Resources...
Exhibition spaces in Westminster Libraries
Westminster Reference Library have exhibition spaces available to artists wishing to publicise their work. More information is available on the Westminster Reference Library Exhibitions page.
Was this useful?
Whatever your interest, Westminster City Council welcomes and encourages you to get in touch with suggestions for improvements to the site. Please tell us how useful this page was to you.