UEA's Photographic Collection

Based in the Sainsbury Centre

One of the largest historical photographic collections of its type in the UK.

Founded in 1964 and located in the Sainsbury Centre, UEA's Photographic Collection contains approximately 150,000 photographic prints and over half a million glass and film negatives dating back to the early 20th century, making it one of the largest historical photographic collections of its type in the UK.

Designed by Foster & Partners, this purpose-built resource is also home to many other collections including rare art books, manuscripts, post cards, posters, catalogues and guides. 

A key component of the collection is the photographic record of the construction and development of the UEA campus, in particular the Sainsbury Centre. In addition to documenting the UEA's unique architectural heritage the photographic collection also chronicles various important events in the university's history including the many ground-breaking exhibitions organised by the gallery. 

The Photographic Collection represents a unique record of many aspects of East Anglian life and culture.

Images, such as those made of Norwich's medieval architecture by photographers based in the department and as well as those donated by notable local photographers such as E.C. LeGrice (FRPS), have proved invaluable to local and international researchers such as The Churches Conservation Trust and the Norwich Historic Churches Trust. 

The collection also holds a selection of photographs and manuscripts by historians and researchers associated with the University. These include papers and photographs from the collection of George Zarnecki (Courtauld Institute), J.L.B. Todhunter's (Ministry of Education) comprehensive architectural survey of English parish churches compiled between 1927 and 1977, Margaret Hall, OBE (British Museum), Andrew Martindale (UEA, Courtauld Institute), Stefan Muthesius (UEA) and the photographic collection of the pioneering female art historian Dame Joan Evans (The Society of Antiquaries).

W.G. Sebald Photographic Collection

A significant element of the collection consists of the photographic work produced by photographer Michael Brandon-Jones for the internationally renowned author W.G. Sebald (1944 –2001).

Sebald wrote all of his fictional narratives whilst working at the UEA and the majority of the images that appear in his work were created in collaboration with Brandon-Jones in the Photographic Collection’s dark room in the Sainsbury Centre. The Sebald photographic collection includes hundreds of negatives, prints and associated written documentation. 

For more information, contact Dr Nick Warr, Curator of Photographic Collections: n.warr@uea.ac.uk