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Collection strengths

An illustration of men with pottery and statues

College archive

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

An illustration of a blossom tree

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.

Pink lit fog

British artists' film and video collection

A unique research collection dedicated to the work of UK and international moving image artists.

A textiles print of trees


This collection includes work by leading textile designers Colleen Farr, Mary Harper, Diana Armfield, Mary Oliver, Eileen Ellis, Marianne Straub and Joyce Clissold.

a selection of leather bound books

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.

A colourful illustration of a person holding an umbrella

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.

A dandelion wood engraving

Wood engravings

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.

A drawing of W R Lethaby

W. R. Lethaby

A comprehensive archive of material relating to W.R. Lethaby – designer, architect, educationalist and founding principal of the Central School of Arts and Crafts.

A closeup of a German film poster

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.

A Japanese print

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.

An owl costume

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.

An illustration of a fish

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.