A one-week course and study day unlocking the secrets of archives and art collections, organised by the Colnaghi Foundation and the Warburg Institute

Unlocking Archives provides valuable insights into the study of archives and what they can reveal about artistic practice, the history of works of art, the formation of private and public collections and the workings of the art market. The course will be delivered as a collaboration between The Warburg Institute, one of the world’s leading centres for studying the interaction of ideas, images and society, with its internationally renowned archive and library, and the Colnaghi Foundation, formed by the oldest commercial art gallery in the world, Colnaghi, to foster appreciation, enjoyment and study of pre-twentieth-century artworks and antiquities in the Western European tradition. Founded in 1760, Colnaghi owns one of the most important dealer archives in the world. This course will draw upon the expertise of both institutions as well as outside experts. 

Course Structure
A study day based at The Warburg Institute will introduce participants to some of the keys required to unlock the secrets of archives, with lectures and workshops on palaeography, online searching, quantitative analysis and the interpretation of historic account books and provenance research. This initial day, which provides valuable training for art-world professionals, collectors and academics, is also aimed at those with a general interest in archives and not necessarily with an art-historical background. It can be attended in person or online with concessionary rates available.

This will be followed by four days visiting archives and related art collections in and around London, with trips planned to the Royal Archive, Waddesdon Manor and the Colnaghi Archive, the National Gallery and Agnews archive, the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the archives of leading modern and contemporary art galleries. The course is open to art-world professionals, collectors, academics and to those who are simply interested in learning more about how the study of archives can enhance our appreciation and enjoyment of art.

Day 1 (and Study Day): Monday 23 May 2022
9.00am-6.30pm: Warburg Institute, University of London
A whole day of lectures based at the Warburg Institute, followed by exploration of Warburg Institute Archives.

Day 2, Tuesday 24 May 2022
Windsor Castle, Royal Collection and Royal Archives

Day 3, Wednesday 25 May 2022
Waddesdon Manor and Rothschild Collections, and the Windmill Hill Archive (Colnaghi and Rothschild Archives)

Day 4, Thursday 26 May 2022
V&A and National Gallery Archives 

Day 5, Friday 27 May 2022
Tate Archives, Saatchi Gallery and Marlborough Gallery Archives


See the Colnaghi website for more details

Fees - whole course (23 - 27 May 2022)
£650 for in-person attendance for all 5 days, transport for two out-of-London trips, tea and coffee during the Study Day, and two evening receptions.


Fees - Study Day (23 May 2022)
£75 for in-person attendance for the Study Day at the Warburg Institute (Day One) including tea and coffee
£60 for online attendance
£45 for online attendance - concessions (students and unwaged)
Free for Warburg Institute staff, students and fellows (both in person and online)


For further details and enquiries email: shortcourse@colnaghifoundation.org