Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Fine and Applied Arts

Peter Paul Rubens- Self Portrait c.1693 Peter Paul Rubens. Self Portrait. c.1639. Oil on canvas.







Subject Areas Covered

To make it easier to locate material, the Arts, Languages and Literature library uses the Dewey Classification system. This groups together subjects using a numbering system. The subject numbers for fine and applied arts are :-

700 The Arts
730 Sculpture
736 Carving
737 Numistics
738 Ceramics
739 Metalwork / Jewellery
740 Drawing
745 Design
746 Textiles
747 Interior Decoration
748 Glass
749 Furniture
750 Painting
760 Graphic Art / Printing

Leonardo da Vinci -self portrait
Leonardo da Vinci - Self Portrait




Specialist Material

The Library has a great range of specialist collections. One that may be of interest is Exhibition Catalogues. Arts, Languages and Literature has a comprehensive collection of catalogues covering art, photographic and design exhibitions. They can be a source of information that can not be located anywhere else.

Other sources of information include

Biography and Information Files Card Index - journals and newspapers articles are indexed for relevant articles.

Illustration Collection - this consists of illustrations obtained from journals and magazines collected together under subject. This collection is no longer added to.


As well as book material the section takes a range of journalscovering a variety of subjects. The following are the fine and applied arts journals currently being taken.

Antique Collecting
Antique Dealer and Collector's Guide

African Arts
AN Magazine
Art Bulletin
Art History
Art in America
Art Journal
Art Monthly
Art News
Art Review
Burlington Magazine
Modern Painters
Oriental Art

Ceramic Review

Coin News


Design Week
I:D International Design Magazine

Graphic Design:
Creative Review

Museums Journal
National Trust Magazine

Suggested Websites: Fine and Applied Arts

We have compiled a number of web-sites pertinent to the subjects covered in Arts, Languages and Literature Section. For reasons of space our choices are very selective. We believe the sites chosen will be useful, reflecting the questions regularly posed by our users.

The list cannot hope to be definitive. We will listen to what people have to say about the chosen sites. We will consider recommendations, and may phase out sites, which are not used or superseded.



Buying and selling antiques at auction online. Access to dealers, galleries and catalogues.


Access to dealers, galleries and catalogues.


Site giving access to pre-sale and post-sale information for auction sale houses across the United Kingdon, Europe, North America and Canada.


An independent connection to world auction houses.


Fine art auctions database, a comprehensive colour illustrated archive of world-wide auction results since 1985. Includes artists, galleries, valuations, magazines and research.


Over 17,000 entries on dealers, restorers, auctioneers, art galleries and museums in the UK. You can search by business, name, town, county or postcode.


Comprehensive directory of UK antiques information. Auctions, Antique Fairs, Shops and it is all searchable by region. There are book reviews and links to on-line antique magazines.



Comprehensive index of artist. Location of works in museums and online resources. Primarily painters and sculptors, photographers, decorative arts, installation and naive arts are represented.


Gateway to over 2,500 UK museums, galleries and heritage attractions. List online exhibitions, news and current listings, letters and links.


Over 2,500 resources in art, archtecture, design and media. Search by subject areas and headings.


A calendar, directory and map of British Arts Festivals.


Art Movements Directory is a concise reference guide to major art movements and periods.


Grove dictionary of art online. Available with a library card.


Visual arts dictionary. It contains over 3000 terms with illustrations, quotes and links to other art web resources.


Website of ArtReview Magazine. Contains review of exhibitions, previews, letters and directory.


Directory of the British Arts Council. The library includes over 15,000 items on arts management. It is available to researchers and arts organisations, otherwise limited access.


Women artists in history. A very comprehensive site.


Bibliography of women artists.


Birmingham arts venue promoting African, Asian and Caribbean arts and cultural activities.


This site is a biographical lexicon of historic scholars of art.



National organisation promoting contemporary crafts. Includes events, exhibitions, services to crafts people and the public.


A joint project led by Birmingham Libraries for the Jewellery industry, to inspire their designs, help their businesses and provide a showcase for their wares. The website includes a bank of over 3000 copyright free images largely from Birmingham Library stock.

Further Information

Because it is difficult to breakdown subjects into discrete areas there is some overlap with subjects held on other floors of the Central Library.

Information relating to manufacture of ceramics, metals, textiles, furniture and horology can be found in the Science Library.

The majority of the material held in the Central Library is for use in the Library only. The exceptions are the Central Lending Library, Music Services, Centre for the Child and the Learning Centre.

You can use the online Library Catalogue to help you locate material. Some items published before 1973 or that are in the Collections may not be listed in the online catalogue.

Most of the current material is available for browsing on the shelves in the Arts, Languages and Literature section on Floor 3 of Birmingham Central Library. Older or valuable items are held in a closed access store and can be made available on request.

As some items held in the store are valuable you will be asked to provide proof of your name and address. To consult certain particularly rare and valuable items you will need to book an appointment.

All our staff are pleased to help you with your enquiry which can be made in person, via telephone,fax, e-mail or letter. It is always advisable to contact us before you make a special journey.

Arts, Languages and Literature
Web Sites for Fine and Applied Arts