For the first time in its history, Tate is making a selection of unique archive material accessible to everyone with the launch today of the Tate Archive collection exclusively at Tate Online

The material, which includes rare artefacts, letters and photographs gives a fascinating and highly visual insight into three key areas – Tate’s history, the Bloomsbury Group and the art world of the 1960s and 1970s as seen through the eyes of the art critic Barbara Reise. Previously visitors could view the material only by special appointment. Now thanks to Tate Online’s sponsor BT and the New Opportunities Fund (NOF), online visitors can browse, search and study in libraries, schools and homes throughout the world.

The Tate Insight team, which was formed in 2000 to digitise the Tate Collection, has spent the last year delving into the rich holdings of the Tate Archive. The team has created three learning journeys around the themes of Bloomsbury Group; Tate History and Barbara Reise. These packages present an overview of the material available including a wide variety of photographs, documents, audio excerpts and other material. Through these presentations, Tate hopes to give visitors an insight into the Tate Archive and enable them to explore the subject matter and also discover what an archive is and understand how the Tate Archive underpins and interacts with the core Collection.

In addition, the Archive showcase enables online visitors to browse through over 4,000 objects, in any order, with the aid of transcriptions for handwritten and audio material and a magnifying tool for typed texts such as press cuttings. This material is fully searchable by subject keyword, theme or type of object and visitors are also able to combine these tools to refine search results.


The Bloomsbury Archive contains a wealth of material including one of the largest collections in the world of photographs of the artistic group. Taken mainly by Vanessa Bell, the photographs form a unique visual record of the artist’s life, family and friends. Home life, holidays, amateur dramatics, and well-known literary friends were all captured Bell’s camera. There are also photographs of the artists at work: on location and in their studios, where we can see rare glimpses of works in progress. The Archive also contains beautifully written and sometimes illustrated correspondence between Bell and her family and friends, including Duncan Grant and Roger Fry, the other key artists in the group.

Tate History

When Tate first opened in 1897 it had just ten galleries and twenty-five members of staff. Since that date it has had eight Directors, added some 59,000 works to the Collection, welcomed millions of visitors and been at the centre of various controversies about modern art as well as surviving two World Wars and a major flood. Using material from the Archive, online visitors will be able to explore Tate’s history, focusing on four main areas: buildings, people, the war years and the flood. Personal papers, letters, diaries, photographs, models and war telegrams bring this slice of history alive in a highly visual and approachable way for the first time.

Barbara Reise

Barbara Reise was an American art critic living and working in London during the 1960s and 70s who sadly took her own life at the age of 37. She was a leading participant in the history of minimal and conceptual art, a close friend of Carl Andre, Dan Graham and Sol LeWitt as well as some of their British counterparts including Gilbert and George and Richard Long. Her archive contains a rich variety of information relating to her life and work and provides a fascinating behind the scenes look into the artists and work of this period.

Notes to Editor

Tate Archive

Established in 1969, the Archive is a collection of British artists’ and art institution archives from 1900. It includes personal papers, correspondence, documentaries, diaries, photographs, audio-visual material, press cuttings and printed ephemera. Major groups of papers include those relating to David Bomberg, Kenneth Clark, Barbara Hepworth, John and Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, Stanley Spencer and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, as well as the Charleston Papers and the Barbara Reise papers.
The Archive, along with the Library, is housed in the Hyman Kreitman Research Centre which opened in May 2002 at Tate Britain and was funded by a £2.2 million donation from the Kreitman Foundation.

For further information or to book an appointment:

Call 020 7887 8838

Insight (
Insight was launched in 1998 with the ambition to deliver high quality indexed images online for all works in the Tate Collection. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) over fifty thousand images are now viewable online including over 30,000 from the vast Turner Bequest. The recent Turner Worldwide initiative has extended beyond the Turner works held by Tate to incorporate works by the artist held in other collections, both in the UK and abroad. Following its launch in June with over 1,200 images, this resource continues to grow as a richly illustrated digital catalogue raisonné of Turner’s work.
As Tate nears the completion of the digitisation of the entire Collection, it is moving beyond the static 2D representation of works to new and inventive ways of presenting art online. Beginning with some of the more challenging works, pilot treatments have already gone live on the Tate website. These include a 3D view of works by Henry Moore and a film of the installation of a recent Rachel Whitread acquisition. More pilot treatments are to follow over the coming months.
View Special Imaging at

BT Sponsorship of Tate Online

The Tate Archive project has been supported through the continuing sponsorship of the Tate website, Tate Online, by BT. Tate Online is one of the largest and most popular websites in the world. The technology behind the site is provided by BT and part of BT’s initiative to make art accessible to everyone. The website currently registers over two million unique visitors annually. For those who have not yet been able to visit the Tate galleries, this online collaboration is a way of bringing art into homes and communities.
Tate Online is an award-winning website having won a BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award 2002 for its i-Map site designed for visually impaired people. Tate Online also won the first ever London Tourism award for Best Website in 2002. BT won a Hollis Sponsorship Award 2003 for ‘Best use of PR in a Sponsorship Campaign’ for its association with Tate Online. BT’s work with Tate Online creates a wider showcase of today’s art and allows exploration into the art of tomorrow through technology and communication.

Liz Cobbold/Christine Emmingham at Sinclair Mason on behalf of BT
Call 0870 606 0960
Fax 0113 237 0888

New Opportunities Fund (
The New Opportunities Fund awards National Lottery grants to education, health and environment projects throughout the UK, aiming to improve quality of life, with a particular focus on people who are most disadvantaged. The Fund’s £50 million UK-wide NOF digitisation programme is designed to bring the learning material and resources currently contained in museums, galleries, libraries, archives and universities directly into homes and communities.
The Fund has awarded grants to 150 organisations across the UK, large and small, to convert a huge variety of material into digital format. The range of material digitised includes archaeology, maritime, architecture, fine art and social and oral history. In Scotland, £6 million is being used to create a ‘virtual communities bank’ of internet learning. Projects can be accessed through the web portal.

Archive Awareness Month (
Everyone has a bit of history and we’ve got a bit of yours!
This September sees the first ever Archive Awareness Month. Over 350 events are being held throughout the UK and Ireland where you can do everything from taste nineteenth-century workhouse gruel to pretend to be a medieval scribe. The month-long celebration is the joint effort of over 200 organisations throwing the spotlight on what archives have to offer you.

For further information please contact Fiona Cameron

Call 020 8392 5376


For further information please contact Tate Press Office:Call + 44 (0)20 7887 8730 / 4939 / 4906 Email 20 John Islip Street MillbankLondon SW1P 4RG