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Art History, Curating and Visual Studies: Specialist Subject Resources

Subject support from Library Services for staff and students in Art History, Curating and Visual Studies

Cadbury Research Library

Manuscript from the Mingana Collection, Cadbury Research Library

The Cadbury Research Library, in the Muirhead Tower, is the home for  Special Collections and Archives of the University of Birmingham. The collections comprise approximately 200,000 pre-1850 books dating from 1471 and some 4 million manuscripts. The Cadbury Research Library welcomes all interested users, both staff and students of the University and members of the public.

Opening hours

  • Monday - 10am – 5pm
  • Tuesday - 9am – 5pm
  • Wednesday - 9am – 5pm
  • Thursday - 9am – 7pm
  • Friday - 9am – 5pm

Please note: requests for material must be placed by 4.15pm, or 4.30pm on Thursdays. If you are visiting on our late Thursday opening but are arriving after 4.30pm, you will need to pre order the material you wish to consult.

Closed days

The Cadbury Research Library is closed on all University closed days.

Specialist Libraries at the University of Birmingham

The Barber Fine Art Library

The Barber Fine Art Library contains general and specialist research level texts reflecting the collection profile of the Barber Institute art collection which covers most of the European schools of painting from the early Renaissance to twenty-first century, the history of collection, and some Byzantine art.

A substantial proportion of items are in the original language of publication, mainly in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

The collection includes:

  • Monographs, catalogues raisonnées, and pamphlets
  • Exhibition catalogues and catalogues of permanent collections and guide books from galleries around the world including some eighteenth and nineteenth century material;
  • An internationally important collection of sales catalogues from major auction houses dating back to the late seventeenth century;
  • Over 150 periodicals

Please note: Not all material in the Barber Fine Art is on open access, some items should be requested in advance. Visitors coming some distance are advised to contact the Barber Fine Art Libary to check availability of material and arrangements to consult it.

Special Collections in Art History at the University of Birmingham

Cadbury Research Library Special Collections holds a number of important archive collections available for research. These include extensive original 19th century artwork of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema; John Hardman & Co., Birmingham, stained glass window designs, 19th-20th century; and a collection of more than 2000 Soviet propaganda posters, spanning the period from the 1917 revolution until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Please contact the Cadbury Research Library if you would like further details.

Specialist Libraries

19th century journals in the Barber Fine Art Library

  • You can use the COPAC catalogue to search the collections of approximately 90 major UK and Irish libraries in a single search. Library collections listed include Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the British Library and libraries at the National Trust and Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
  • If you wish to visit another UK university library, you might be eligible for a SCONUL card. This will allow you reference access to a large number of academic libraries around the UK. For more information on using other libraries please look at Access Schemes

Finding Books

Findit@Bham is the place to start looking for printed books and ebooks.  For tips on how to make the most of searching Findit see the help page.  If the University doesn't have the book you want try COPAC