Relics of old London: Photography and the spirit of the city
10 February—22 June 2010
In the Architecture Space
The Entrance of The Oxford Arms, Warwick Lane, 1875, by A & J Bool. Society for Photographing Relics of Old London, © Royal Academy of Arts Adjacent to the Royal Academy Restaurant
Prompted by the imminent demolition of an old London inn near St Paul's, the Society for the Photographing of Relics of Old London set about using photography as a means of documenting buildings that represented old London threatened with destruction. This exhibition presents a selection of these photographs from the 1870s and 1880s by A. & J. Bool and, later, Henry Dixon & Son which capture some of the buildings and streets, which were the legacies of earlier centuries.
The exhibition offers fascinating insights into photography’s historic, and ongoing, role in documenting the texture of the urban environment.
10am-6pm every day except Friday
Use this interactive Google Map to locate and explore the surroundings of buildings depicted in photographs from the exhibition.
Download the exhibition handout (720 KB)
Click here for further reading
Documenting Contemporary London
The approaches to, and techniques of photography today, are different from those of the late nineteenth century and offer us new ways of considering the spirit of the city. Inspired by 'Relics of old London' we showcase works submitted by contemporary photographers – amateur or professional – that documents parts of London now at risk or deemed to be worth recording. Shown alongside the Architecture Space, the photographs are updated weekly.
We encourage you to submit images which respond to London and its architecture. In the spirit of the exhibition, consider what you think should be captured on camera and preserved for the future. It may be a particular building or a street scene; it may represent something of our time or of the past; it can be personal or emblematic.
Photographs can be submitted via our Flickr group:
Royal Academy Collection
The Royal Academy's Collection holds a complete set of the photographs taken for the Society for the Photographing of Relics of Old London by A. & J. Bool and Henry Dixon & Son.
Click here to view the complete set of photographs