Photographs, sketchbooks, diaries and even a lock of human hair are among the fascinating objects I have worked with in my role as Archive Data Inputter for the Archives & Access project

Donald Rodney’s sketchbook
Donald Rodney’s sketchbook

My role involves creating data that will make the digitised images searchable on Tate’s website when the project goes live. Since starting in January 2013 I have been lucky enough to work on many incredible collections within Tate Archive.

The first collection I worked on was the sketchbooks of Donald Rodney. Rodney was a British artist who played an important role in the BLK Art Group in the 1980s. The sketchbooks were an integral part in his work and life and he carried one at all times: the project will digitise all 48 of his sketchbooks. Sketchbooks by Graham Sutherland, L.S. Lowry and John Piper will also be available online.

The project will digitise lots of photographs from the archive. One of my favourites is a studio portrait of Eileen Mayo. Mayo, as well as an artist and designer, was an artists’ model. She sat for artists such as Bernard Meninsky, Duncan Grant and Laura Knight. This beautiful studio portrait shows her striking features.

Studio portrait photograph of Eileen Mayo
Eileen Mayo, artist’s model and painter, 1930
Photograph by E.O. Hoppé

Another fascinating photographic item is the album that belonged to Stanhope Forbes. Forbes was a founding member of the Newlyn school of art. The photographs show scenes from Newlyn, which was the inspiration for much of his artwork.

Photograph album given to Stanhope Forbes in April 1892
Photograph album given to Stanhope Forbes in April 1892

My favourite collection included in the project is the records of Klaus Hinrichsen. Klaus was interned in Hutchinson Internment Camp on the Isle of Man during 1940–1 with dada artist, Kurt Schwitters and many other notable figures. The collection includes a copy of The Camp, the newspaper the internees created while interned. The newspaper featured reviews and articles about various topics. The records relating to the camp are fascinating as they give an insight into a unique period of time during World War Two.

'The Camp’ featuring an article by Klaus Hinrichsen dated November 1940
The Camp featuring an article by Klaus Hinrichsen dated November 1940

As well as photographs, correspondence and sketchbooks: we are also digitising some artworks from the archive, including works by key figures Keith Vaughan, David Jones, Ithell Colquhoun, as well as artworks by lesser known artists such as Thomas Cooper Gotch. I really like this engraving by Gotch, and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to discover artists and artworks that are new to me.

Engraving by Thomas Cooper Gotch
Engraving by Thomas Cooper Gotch

The next collections I will be working on are the records of Cedric Morris and the photographs of John Piper and Nigel Henderson. I look forward to discovering what incredible items I might come across next.

Stay tuned to hear more about the project…