Skip to Main Content

History of British Art: Words & Images in Victorian Britian, HSAR445

Reference Library Titles

Here is a list of books that will help with your research

YCBA Research Tips

The YCBA has several unique databases for researching art in the Center's collection.

The Museum System (TMS) database, see reference desk for assistance
TMS is the object management system for the works of art in the YCBA's collection. TMS can provide you with basic information about an artwork (size, date, medium), and in some cases label text and a color image. One of the Reference Library staff can search TMS and provide you with a report based for your object.

YCBA Art Bibliography Database, see Reference desk for assistance
This database matches article and chapter citations to individual works of art in the YCBA collection, approx. 200 at the moment. Unlike other art databases, this resource gives you articles that deal specifically with your work of art.

Additional Materials

Words & Images in Victorian Britain: Additional Resources

This website is an online research guide for Prof. Jo Briggs's class Words and Images in Victorian Britain, HSAR445. Included here are additional resources to consider when working on your mid-term essays and final papers.

Reference Works

Dictionary of National Biography: Premier reference work for people of note from or closely associated with the UK and Ireland. Entries include bibliographies and the online version provides direct links to the Orbis record for the titles in these bibliographies. the print version is also available in the YCBA Reference Library.

Victorian Web: A broad reference guide to the Victorian Era. Sort of like a Wikipedia for Victorian studies.

Oxford Art Online - Grove Art Online: Includes extensive entries devoted to people, places, and topics of art history. This resource includes major British artists, and movements involving British art. Each entry includes a bibliography for further information. Also available in print as the Grove Dictionary of Art.

ARTstor: Database of close to 1 million high quality images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences. Includes a large portion of the Yale Visual Resources Collection.

Resources for the Mid-term Essay

Database Research

You have access to numerous databases that will help you find information about your work of art for the mid-term. I have organized them into 2 categories.
Primary sources: full text digital versions or citations for writings contemporary with the work of art. For example an exhibition review in the Times of London from 1889 that mentions Frith's The Road to Ruin.
Secondary sources: a current article about Ford Madox Brown's Work published in the Art Bulletin from 1992.

Primary Sources

British Newspapers 1600-1950: The British Library's 19th century newspaper collection is available through a separate database, 17th-18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers. Don't be confused by the name, though. There is a link at the top of the page called "Change Databases." Click this link and scroll down until you find The British Library 19th Century Newspapers. Note, unless you within the Yale IP range you will have to get off campus access

Nineteenth Century Index: Large, umbrella index that includes most, though not all, of the content of the databases and indexes listed below, which can be accessed separately: American Periodical Series; Archive Finder; British Periodicals; House of Commons Parliamentary Papers; Nineteenth Century (microfiche project); Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalogue; Palmer's Index to the Times; Periodical Content Index: Poole's Index; UK Congressional Serial Set; Wellesley Index

Times Digital Archive: Full-text access to the Times of London from 1785-1985. Original pages are scanned, enabling closer examination of layout and design, in addition to article contents.

British Periodicals Collection: Contains full-text articles for over 500 journals from the late 17th to the early 20th centuries.

Secondary Sources

Art Full Text & Art Index Retrospective (Art Source)
: Includes citations, abstracts, and full-text articles from art publications dating from 1928-present. Note, the Yale Center for British Art Reference Library holds print copies of many of the most important journals relating to British art history. To search the database, click on the "Online database" link next to the green check mark.


Bibliography of the History of Art (1973 - Present): Citations and abstracts of art-related books, conference proceedings and dissertations, exhibition and dealer's catalogs, and articles from over 2,500 journals. See the journal list here.

Arts & humanities Citation Index: Interdisciplinary index to the literature of the arts and humanities. Indexes over 6,000 journals, approx. 1,000 completely and 5,000 selectively.

Books By or About Artists

Finding books by or about artists is sometimes confusing. Sometimes, the artist is listed as the author of the book but not always. Additionally, there are several types of publications unique to art publishing and essential to art historical research. Here are some tips about the types of books you will need and how to find them.

NJ18 section: Yale libraries group all books about an artist together in the call number section NJ18. Artists are grouped alphabetically, which is designated by a letter and number following the NJ18 prefix. For example, J.M.W. Turner begins, NJ18 T85. This arrangement makes browsing easier as most (though not all) of the books about an artist will be in one place.

Catalogues Raisonné: The catalogue raisonné is the definitive resource devoted to an artist's entire body of work and will often include invaluable information about specific works of art such as: exhibition histories, bibliographies, and related works. Depending on the artist, there may be several volumes organized by medium: paintings, prints, or drawings. Example: Judy Egerton. George Stubbs, Painter: Catalogue RaisonneĢ NJ18.St915 A12 E44 2007 Oversize

Exhibition Catalogs: Museum exhibitions are either theme-based or center around an artist's work. Many exhibition catalogs represent the most extensive and up-to-date scholarship on an artist, particularly in the absence of a catalogue raisonné. Often the catalog will include extensive entries for each work of art on display as well as essays by scholars in the field that help to place the artist among his or her contemporaries.
Ford Madox Brown: the Unofficial Pre-raphaelite: Works on Paper by Ford Madox Brown from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery NJ18.B8307 A12 2008 (LC)

Artists Monographs: A single
volume, narrative of an artist's life and work, likely includes a partial grouping of the artist's works and often contains high quality, color reproductions. Example: Sally Festerling. Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms - NJ18 H44 F47 1995

Yale Center for British Art Collection Catalogs: The YCBA Reference Library has a grouping of catalogs dedicated to the YCBA collections (paintings and sculpture, prints and drawings, rare books and manuscripts). These catalogs often contain information about objects in the YCBA collection that is not available anywhere else. Example: Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art - N5220.M552 P381 2007 Oversize