Archive Journeys

These journeys through three themes from the Tate Archive provide a fascinating insight into Tate's History, the Bloomsbury Group and the art world of the 1960s and 70s as seen through the eyes of the art critic Barbara Reise.

Works returning from storage in Piccadilly underground station
Works returning from storage in Piccadilly underground station
© London's Transport Museum
Tate History

A behind-the-scenes look at Tate's first hundred years

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, 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, this journey takes you through Tate's history, focusing on four main areas: its buildings, people, the war years and the flood. Personal papers, letters, photographs, models and war telegrams bring this slice of history alive in a highly visual and approachable way for the first time online.

Family and friends of Vanessa Bell at Charleston
Family and friends of Vanessa Bell at Charleston
©Tate Archive, 2003

Artists, intellectuals, bohemians: through the keyhole

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 artists' lifestyle, family and friends.

There are also photographs providing rare glimpses of the artists at work, as well as much beautifully written and sometimes illustrated correspondence between Vanessa Bell and her family and friends including Duncan Grant and Roger Fry, the key artists in the group. This journey offers a multi-faceted exploration of the lives and work of these remarkable individuals.

Barbara Reise on graduation day
Barbara Reise
on graduation day
© Tate Archive 2003

A decade of ideas through the eyes of an American art critic in London, 1966-1978

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 such as Gilbert and George. Her archive contains a rich variety of information relating to her life and work and this journey provides a fascinating behind-the scenes insight into the artists and work of this period.