Picturing England


    The photographic collections of Historic England
    Picturing England large image 1

        Publication Date

        15 Jul 2015


        A selection of photographs from the Historic England Archive, revealing new insights into the history of photography and the development of our built environment.

        Main Summary

          Photographers have taken pictures of England’s buildings and landscapes since the invention of the medium, making images of the traces of past societies as well as photographing the new buildings around them. They have done so for many reasons: to capture the picturesque; to make a living or a souvenir; to promote or to condemn; to record what is disappearing or to reveal what is normally hidden. The formats and types of photograph they have used have been, over time, just as various, from the rare and special image, such as the first calotype, to the ubiquitous digital photograph. Collectively these photographers, both famous and anonymous, have changed the way we see and understand our environment.

          This book features over 300 striking photographs from the Historic England Archive, an unparalleled collection of 9 million images on England’s buildings and landscapes from the 1850s to the present. Viewed collectively, its photographic collections record the changing face of England from the beginning of photography to the present day. They form a remarkable national asset, a huge memory bank that helps us understand and interpret the past, informs the present and assists with future management and appreciation of the historic environment.

          With informative essays and captions by the authors, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in photography, architecture, archaeology or social history.

          Additional Information


          Gary Winter
          Anne Woodward
          Mike Evans

          Author Information

          Mike Evans is Head of Archives at Historic England.
          Gary Winter is Archive Exhibitions Officer at Historic England.
          Anne Woodward is Archive Exhibitions Manager at Historic England.

          Publishing Status




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            1. The pioneers: Before 1860

            2. The rise of the mass market in photography: 1860-1939

            3. The amateur view: 1860-1939

            4. The rise of the professional architectural photographer: 1860-1939

            5. Recording the past: 1870 to the present day

            6. The view from above: 1900 to the present day

            7. A photographic thread: 1850 to the present day


            Glossary of selected photographic terms

            Index to selected Historic England Archive collections


              ... it presents a valuable record of the country's changing face throughout the lifetime of photography ...
              The RPS Journal, Vol 155, July 2015
              This treasure trove of images helps us to trace the development of the nation's landscape and culture during the period since the invention of the camera. 200 or so snaps from the collection are included in this wonderful book ... well chosen and accompanied by plenty of insightful commentary.
              Geographical, August 2015
              ... Even if you have only the passing interest in English social history, this book is fascinating and essential.
              Best of British, July 2015
              This marvellous collection of 300 images shows the changing appearance of England over 175 years.
              Daily Mail
              ... the authors have adeptly whittled down the organisation's nine million images in support of a broader story. ... this is certainly an absorbing book ...
              Jack Watkins
              Country Life, July 8, 2015
              'Picturing England' is a fascinating reminder of our recent history. ... This sumptuous coffee table tome is full of wonderful photographs drawn from the archive of nine million imaged cared for by Historic England.
              Duncan Phillips
              West Country Life, EG1-S2, September 17 2016
              Many of the photos here have never been published before so you'll have a privileged view of this important and fabulous collection.
              Family Tree, September 2015
              ... the new body has got off to a solid and, you could even argue, symbolic start with one of its first major new publications. ... In a pictorially delightful and textually engrossing 300-odd pages, the authors of 'Picturing England' take the reader through the early days of the new visual. 'Picturing England' is as entertaining as it is informative.
              Vintage, July 2015
              The 300 or so images in Picturing England have been selected from a staggering nine million to serve as a glorious introduction to the highways and byways of the archive.
              Susan Owens
              The World of Interiors, June 2016