Use these listings to discover elements of the collection that will inspire you or be relevant to your work. Once you have found what you're interested in, visit our online catalogue and search by keyword or maker. 

College archive

  • Material relating to the College including promotional posters, exhibition catalogues, prospectuses, photographs, staff records, minute books, letters, reports and general press cuttings. 

Contemporary collection

  • Art and design work bought from degree shows each year including paintings, prints, artist’s books, sculptures, jewellery, ceramics, theatrical model boxes, textiles and fashion. The early work of rising stars such as John Galliano, Raqib Shaw and Hussein Chalayan play a key role in this collection. 

W.R. Lethaby (1857-1931)

  • A comprehensive archive of material relating to W.R. Lethaby – designer, architect, educationalist and founding principal of the Central School of Arts and Crafts – including letters, drawings, watercolours and a collection of his published writings.


  • This collection includes work by leading textile designers Colleen Farr, Mary Harper, Diana Armfield, Mary Oliver, Eileen Ellis, Marianne Straub and Joyce Clissold – owner of the Footprints design company.

School of book production

  • A substantial number of books typeset, illustrated, printed and bound by staff and students of the Central School in the early 20th century, including work by Douglas Cockerell and J.H. Mason who were hugely influential in the revival of the art of printing in the UK and abroad.

Fine arts, prints and drawings

  • This rich area of the collection encompasses over 500 years of artistic practice, from woodcuts by Dürer and early printed books to work by leading 20th century artists Eduardo Paolozzi, Norman Ackroyd and Bernard Meninsky. Cartoonists Posy Simmonds and Gerald Scarfe are also represented in the collection.

Wood engraving

  • In the early part of the 20th century the Central School was instrumental in the revival of the art of wood engraving under the guiding hand of Noel Rooke. Rooke is well represented in this collection, as are former students John Farleigh and Robert Gibbings, and later wood engravers Monica Poole, Blair Hughes-Stanton and Simon Brett.

Theatre costume design

  • Costume design was one of the most important aspects of the original Theatre Design Course at the Central School. This collection includes examples of work by costume designers for theatre, film and television, including Jeannetta Cochrane, Pegaret Anthony, Sheila Jackson, Alix Stone, Norah Waugh and Margaret Woodward.

German film posters

  • The posters in this collection advertise silent films produced in Berlin during the early 20th century. Reflecting an exciting and critical period of development in design and cinema, they played an important role as part of the Central School’s teaching collection.

The Japanese print collection

  • When Japanese woodblock printing methods were introduced to classes at the Central School a large number of Japanese prints were purchased for its teaching collection. Dating from the mid 18th to the late 19th centuries, these include prints and albums depicting children’s games and famous actors from the traditional Kabuki theatre.

Teaching books

  • Our collection of Teaching Books reflects the diverse range of subject areas taught at the Central School. The collection is particularly rich in natural history, architecture, textiles, early printed books and portfolios of design examples.