Caught on filmThe story of Melbourne’s original visual archiveby Benjamin Thomas
The University of Melbourne’s Fine Arts slide library, now held within the collections of the Elisabeth Murdoch Library, is the earliest and one of the most significant collections of its kind in Australia. It owes its founding to the introduction of the discipline of art history at a tertiary level at the University in 1947 through the newly created Department of Fine Arts. So central was it to the teaching of art history that the inaugural Herald Chair of Fine Arts, Professor Joseph Burke, had already begun to assemble the library prior to leaving England. It is a unique collection, one that has been at the very core of art historical teaching and research in Melbourne for more than half a century, and it and its history are thus of major significance in the history of art education in Melbourne. This article presents the history of the establishment of the collection.
Benjamin Thomas is a doctoral candidate with the School of Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne, completing his thesis on the Australian artist and art administrator Sir Daryl Lindsay (1889-1976).