Finding aid for the Arthur Kingsley Porter study photographs of Romanesque architecture and sculpture, 1900s

Finding aid prepared by Jan Bender and Ann Harrison

Descriptive Summary

Title: Arthur Kingsley Porter study photographs of Romanesque architecture and sculpture
Date (inclusive): 1900s
Number: 91.P.4
Creator/Collector: Porter, Arthur Kingsley, 1883-1933
Physical Description: 6.0 linear feet (14 boxes)
The Getty Research Institute
Special Collections
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
(310) 440-7390
Abstract: An assortment of approximately 2000 photographic copy prints made from Arthur Kingsley Porter's negatives, now held by the Fine Arts Library, Harvard University. Images document medieval architecture and sculpture across Europe, with an emphasis on Romanesque monuments in France and Italy, as well as some images of Spanish and Portuguese sites.
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Language: Collection material is in English

Biographical/Historical Note

Arthur Kingsley Porter (1883-1933) was a medieval archaeologist, and art and architectural historian. Through his numerous publications and his post as a professor at Harvard, Porter was instrumental in establishing the study of medieval art history in the United States.
The summer after graduating from Yale in 1904, Porter discovered his passion for architecture, especially medieval architecture, on a trip to France. That fall instead of beginning to study law as had been expected, Porter enrolled in the Columbia University School of Architecture. While there, Porter's focus soon shifted from the practice of architecture to architectural history. In 1906, Porter left Columbia to begin work on his first book, entering the life-long pattern of travel, research and writing that his family wealth allowed.
By the beginning of World War I, Porter had spent extended periods of time in Europe studying medieval monuments, had published three books and gained a certain international scholarly recognition. This success led to his appointment first as a lecturer on the history of architecture in 1915, and then, after completing a BFA degree in 1917, as an assistant professor at Yale.
In the aftermath of the war in 1918, Porter took a leave from Yale, accepting an invitation, the only one offered to a foreigner, to serve on the French governmental Commission des Monuments Historiques documenting damaged and endangered monuments. During this time Porter met and became friends with Bernard Berenson. This connection was presumably a factor in Porter joining the Harvard Fine Arts faculty upon his return to the United States in 1920.
Porter's years at Harvard were a professional success on many levels. He published consistently; he acquired medieval art and artifacts for the Fogg Museum; and he was appointed to an endowed chair in 1925. Porter's time at Harvard was marked by his influence on and mentoring of a new generation of art historians at Harvard and other institutions, including Kenneth Conant, Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Meyer Schapiro. He also continued his European sojourns. The years from 1923-1925 were spent on leave in France and Spain, teaching and lecturing.
Porter brought international recognition to the study of medieval art and architectural history in the United States. In his publications, he tackled large questions, such as the origin of the rib vault, the nature and transmission of artistic influence, and attribution, and he challenged the current systems of chronology and classification. His interdisciplinary approach was well ahead of its time and he was an ardent advocate of the use of photography as an art historical tool. Assisted by his wife Lucy, he photographed prodigiously during his travels in Europe, often using hotel bathrooms and closets as darkrooms, and these photographs were integral to his scholarship. His publication Romanesque Sculpture of the Pilgrimage Roads, for example, used 1527 photographic plates to illustrate circa 350 pages of text, or one volume of text with nine volumes of plates. Porter's theories were controversial and elicited a strong reaction, especially from French academics, but this meant that he, an American scholar, was taking part in the intellectual debates previously held exclusively among European medievalists.
Yet, Porter was unhappy. He considered quitting Harvard as early as 1929. By the early 1930s Porter had developed a new passion for Celtic culture and was spending most of the year in Ireland, a refuge from what he saw as the growing political and moral decay of the United States, as well as personal turmoil and professional danger related to his homosexuality. On July 8 1933 Porter disappeared while walking the sea cliffs near his house in Ireland and was presumed dead, a victim of an accidental fall or a suicide.

Administrative Information


Open for use by qualified researchers.

Publication Rights

Photographs and permission to publish must be obtained from copyright holder(s). For further information, contact Library Reproductions and Permissions .

Preferred Citation

Arthur Kingsley Porter study photographs of Romanesque architecture and sculpture, 1900s, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 91.P.4

Acquisition Information

Acquired from Harvard University in 1991-1992.

Processing History

Jan Bender created the collection inventory in 2013 and Ann Harrison completed the finding aid.

Related Archival Materials

The complete set of Arthur Kingsley Porter's negatives, with contact prints and selected enlargements, is held by Harvard University (HOLLIS number 000601589).

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is comprised of an assortment of approximately 2000 photographic prints made from Arthur Kingsley Porter's negatives, now held by the Fine Arts Library, Harvard University. Almost 12,000 photographic negatives were made by Porter as illustrations for his ten-volume work, Romanesque Sculpture of the Pilgrimage Roads (Boston, 1923) and his other publications. These images capture medieval architecture and sculpture across Europe, with emphasis on Romanesque monuments and architectural sculpture in France and Italy. Porter's photographs provide critical documentation of the state of preservation of hundreds of medieval sites in the early twentieth century. Many of the monuments and sculptures recorded have undergone steady deterioration since then, suffered war damage, or disappeared into private collections. These images also address the development of the discipline of art history in America, as Porter's photographic work served as a basis for his controversial theories of the migration of forms and styles.
In 1991 as part of the development of the Medieval section of the Photo Archive, the Getty Research Institute negotiated with Harvard University to acquire enlarged prints of Porter's negatives. Harvard holds a complete set of contact prints of Porter's negatives for research purposes, but only selected enlargements, and Dumbarton Oaks holds selected prints, primarily of Byzantine monuments. The intention was for the Getty to acquire a complete set of enlargements, making it the only institution to hold such a research tool. However, when the project lapsed in 1992, the Getty had received only about 2000 prints. The Getty prints include all the large negatives in Porter's collection, plus selections from the nitrate and the medium-sized negatives, a body of material reflecting Harvard's production flow rather than image content categories. Photocopies of Harvard's catalog records accompany and identify each image.
A small number of photographs drawn from other sources are also included in this collection. There are twenty-eight prints made from negatives in the James M. Paton Photograph Collection also held by Harvard University (HOLLIS number 010880186) and fifty other photographs from the general photographic holdings of the Fogg Museum, as well as documentation of a small display of Porter's photographs at the Getty Research Institute in 1994.


Arranged culturally/geographically.

Indexing Terms

Subjects - Names

Porter, Arthur Kingsley, 1883-1933 -- Photograph collections

Subjects - Topics

Architecture, Medieval
Architecture, Romanesque--France
Architecture, Romanesque--Italy
Sculpture, Medieval
Sculpture, Romanesque--France
Sculpture, Romanesque--Italy

Genres and Forms of Material

Photographic prints


Paton, James Morton, 1863-1944

Container List


Arthur Kingsley Porter study photographs of Romanesque architecture and sculpture

Box 1, Folder 1

Arthur Kingsley Porter Cambridge, Massachusetts home

Box 1, Folder 2-4


Box 1, Folder 2


Box 1, Folder 3

Turkey: Istanbul

Box 1, Folder 4

Byzantine school

Box 1, Folder 5


Box 1, Folder 6-13


Box 1, Folder 6-11


Box 1, Folder 6

Armagh, Carlow, Clare, Donegal and Fermanagh

Box 1, Folder 7

Kildare, Kilkenny and Londonderry

Box 1, Folder 8


Box 1, Folder 9


Box 1, Folder 10

Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone and Wicklow

Box 1, Folder 11

Unidentified location

Box 1, Folder 12

Scotland: Dumfries and Iona

Box 1, Folder 13


Box 1, Folder 14


Box 1, Folder 15

English (Anglo-Saxon)

Box 1, Folder 16


Box 2-5


Box 2, Folder 1

Ain: Confort

Box 2, Folder 2-6


Box 2, Folder 2

Ambleny, Chaillevois, Chevregny, Chivy-lès-Étouvelles, Connigie, Corcy, Courmelles, Étouvelles and Guignicourt

Box 2, Folder 3


Box 2, Folder 4

Lesges, Longpont, Mareuil-en-Dôle, Margival, Montcornet, Montigny-Lengrain, Paars, Ressons-le-Long and Retheuil

Box 2, Folder 5

Soissons, Soupir and Saint-Quentin

Box 2, Folder 6

Vauclerc-et-la-Valleé-Foulon, Vaux-sous-Laon, Viels-Maisons, Vorges and Vregny

Box 2, Folder 7


Box 2, Folder 8

Ardennes: Mouzon

Box 2, Folder 9

Aude: Carcassonne and Narbonne

Box 2, Folder 10

Aveyron: Conques, Espalion and Perse

Box 2, Folder 11

Basses Pyrénées: Morlon and Oloron

Box 2, Folder 12

Bouches-du-Rhône: Aix-en-Provence, Arles and Marseilles

Box 2, Folder 13-15


Box 2, Folder 13

Authie, Biéville, Caen and Cheux

Box 2, Folder 14

Fontaine-Henry, Ifs, Ouistreham, Putot-en-Auge, Rosel, Rots and Ryes

Box 2, Folder 15

Saint-Gabriel, Secqueville-en-Bessin, Saint-Contest, Saint-Loup-Hors and Thaon

Box 2, Folder 16

Cantal: Mauriac

Box 3, Folder 1

Charente: Angoulême, Châteauneuf-sur-Charente, Saint-Amant-de-Boixe and Trois-Palis

Box 3, Folder 1

Charente-Inférieure: Chadenac

Box 3, Folder 2

Corrèze: Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne and Saint-Clément

Box 3, Folder 3

Côte d'Or: Dijon

Box 3, Folder 4

Côtes-du-Nord: Plouaret

Box 3, Folder 5

Dordogne: Périgueux and Perpignan

Box 3, Folder 5

Drôme: Die

Box 3, Folder 6

Essonne: Étampes, Longpont-sur-Orge and Saint-Sulpice-de-Favières

Box 3, Folder 7

Eure: Bernay, Chartres, Châteaudun and Évreux

Box 3, Folder 8-9


Box 3, Folder 8

Kerfeunteun, Locmaria, Locronan, Meillars, Ploaré, Plonéis and Pont-Croix

Box 3, Folder 9


Box 3, Folder 10

Gard: Beaucaire and Saint-Giles

Box 3, Folder 11

Gironde: Blasimon, Bordeaux, Castelviel and Sauve-Majeure

Box 3, Folder 12

Haute-Garonne: Montesquieu-Volvestre, Saint-Aventin and Toulouse

Box 3, Folder 13

Haute-Loire: Puy-en-Velay

Box 3, Folder 13

Haute-Marne: Montier-en-Der and Villiers-le-Sec

Box 3, Folder 13

Hautes-Pyrénées: Luz

Box 3, Folder 14

Hérault: Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Saint-Pons-de-Thomières and Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone

Box 4, Folder 1

Indre-et-Loire: Loche and Monthodon

Box 4, Folder 2


Box 4, Folder 2

Loire: Charlieu

Box 4, Folder 3

Lot: Cahors, Carennac, Martel and Souillac

Box 4, Folder 4

Manche: Cerisy-la-Forêt, Hambye, Lessay, Pontorson and Saint-Lô

Box 4, Folder 5

Mantes: Gassicourt, Mantes and Notre Dame

Box 4, Folder 6

Marne: Châlons-sur-Marne, Damery, L'Épine, Port-à-Binson and Thible

Box 4, Folder 7-11


Box 4, Folder 7

Angicourt, Angivilliers, Angy, Beauvais, Béthisy-Saint-Pierre, Bitry, Boran-sur-Oise and Bury

Box 4, Folder 8

Cambronne-lès-Clermont, Catenoy, Chamant, Coudon, Marolles, Méry, Mogneville, Montagny and Noyon

Box 4, Folder 9

Pontpoint, Rhuis, Rully, Saintines and Sarron

Box 4, Folder 10


Box 4, Folder 11

Saint-Germer-de-Fly, Saint-Léger-aux-Bois, Saint-Leu-d'Esserent, Saint-Vaast-lès-Mello, Tracy-le-Val and Villers-Saint-Paul

Box 4, Folder 12

Puy-de-Dôme: Clermont-Ferrand

Box 4, Folder 13

Pyrénées-Orientales: Arles-sur-Tech, Corneilla-de-Conflent, Cuxa, Elne, Marcevol, Saint-André-de-Sorède, Saint-Féliu-d'Amont, Saint-Génis-des-Fontaines and Toulouges

Box 5, Folder 1

Saône et Loire: Anzy-le-Duc, Berzé-la-Ville, Perrecy-les-Forges and Tournus

Box 5, Folder 2

Seine-et-Marne: Chelles, Crouy-sur-Ourcq, Provins, Saint-Loup-de-Naud and Saint-Pathus

Box 5, Folder 3-4


Box 5, Folder 3


Box 5, Folder 4


Box 5, Folder 5

Val-d'Oise: Auvers-sur-Oise, Beaumont-sur-Oise, Chars, Cormeilles-en-Vexin and Pontoise

Box 5, Folder 6

Vienne: Poitiers

Box 5, Folder 7

Yvelines: Juziers and Poissy

Box 5, Folder 8-11

French school, 12th century

Box 5, Folder 8

Montpellier, Hérault

Box 5, Folder 9

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Toulouse

Box 5, Folder 10

Musée Rupin, Brives, Corrèze

Box 5, Folder 11

Silos, Monastery of Santo Domingo

Box 5, Folder 12

French, unidentified

Box 5, Folder 13


Box 5, Folder 14


Box 6-12


Box 6, Folder 1

Alessandria: Acqui, Castelnuovo Scrivia, Novi Ligure, Portacomaro, Rivalta Scrivia, Sezze, Spigno Monferrato and Tortona

Box 6, Folder 2

Aosta: San Orso

Box 6, Folder 3

Asti: Albugnano, Asti, Cortazzone d'Asti, Montechiaro d'Asti. Montemagno and Montiglio d'Asti

Box 6, Folder 4

Avellino: Prata di Principato Ultra

Box 6, Folder 5

Bari: San Nicola and Monopoli

Box 6, Folder 6


Box 6, Folder 7-9


Box 6, Folder 7

Almenno San Salvatore and Bonate Sotto

Box 7, Folder 8

Calvenzano, Calvi and Fontanella

Box 6, Folder 9

Mazzone, San Fermo di Sopra and Santa Maria Maggiore

Box 6, Folder 10


Box 6, Folder 10

Bolzano: Malles

Box 6, Folder 11

Brescia: Capo di Ponte, Rotondo, San Salvatore and Santa Giulia

Box 7, Folder 1

Campobasso: Toro

Box 7, Folder 2

Caserta: Aversa, Santa Maria Capua Vetere and Casale Monferrato

Box 7, Folder 2

Caserta Vecchia

Box 7, Folder 3-6


Box 7, Folder 3

Bellagio, Como and Galliano

Box 7, Folder 4


Box 7, Folder 5


Box 7, Folder 6

Varese, Vertemate and Voltorre

Box 7, Folder 7


Box 7, Folder 8


Box 7, Folder 9


Box 7, Folder 10


Box 7, Folder 11

Frosinone: Aquino, Cassino and Ferentino

Box 7, Folder 12

Latina: Cori, Fossanova and Ninfa

Box 7, Folder 13

Latium: Anagni

Box 7, Folder 14

Lecco: Civate

Box 7, Folder 14

Liguria: Genoa

Box 7, Folder 15

Lodi: Lodi Vecchio

Box 8, Folder 1-6


Box 8, Folder 1


Box 8, Folder 2

San Babila, San Calimero, San Celso, Sant'Eustorgio and San Giorgio in Palazzo

Box 8, Folder 3

San Nazaro and San Satiro

Box 8, Folder 4

San Sepolcro, San Simpliciano, Santa Maria d'Aurona and San Pietro

Box 8, Folder 5

San Vicenzo

Box 8, Folder 6

Vaprio d'Adda

Box 8, Folder 7

Modena: Levizzano Rangone, Modena, Nonantola, Pieve Trebbio and Renno di Pavullo

Box 8, Folder 8

Monza Brianza

Box 8, Folder 9

Naples: Cimitale, Ischia, Marechiaro, Naples, Pompeii, Posilippo, Pozzuoli and Sorrento

Box 8, Folder 10

Novara: Casolino, Novara and San Nazzaro Sesia

Box 8, Folder 11


Box 8, Folder 12


Box 9, Folder 1


Box 9, Folder 1-2


Box 9, Folder 1

Fornovo di Taro, Sant'Ilario di Bagenza, Sasso di Neviano degli Arduini and Vicofertile

Box 9, Folder 2

Fidenza (Borgo San Donnino)

Box 9, Folder 3-9


Box 9, Folder 3


Box 9, Folder 4


Box 9, Folder 5

San Lanfranco and San Lazzaro

Box 9, Folder 6

San Michele

Box 9, Folder 7

San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro

Box 9, Folder 8

Santo Stefano, San Teodoro, San Zaccaria and SS. Primo e Felliciano

Box 9, Folder 9

Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria in Betlem

Box 9, Folder 10

Piacenza: Castell'Arquato, Chiaravalle della Colomba, Piacenza, Velleia and Vigo Marchese

Box 9, Folder 11


Box 9, Folder 11


Box 10, Folder 1


Box 10, Folder 1

Reggio Emilia

Box 10, Folder 2-6


Box 10, Folder 7

Salerno: Minuto, Nocera Superiore, Paestum, Ravello, Salerno and Scale

Box 10, Folder 8

Siena: Ponte allo Spino and Siena

Box 10, Folder 9

Sondrio: Morbegno

Box 10, Folder 10

Switzerland: Chiasso

Box 10, Folder 11


Box 10, Folder 11


Box 11, Folder 1-3


Box 11, Folder 1

Brusasco, Cavagnolo, Ivrea and Piobesi Torinese

Box 11, Folder 2

Ranverso di Avigliana, Rivoli and Sagra San Michele

Box 11, Folder 3

Settimo Vittone, Stradella and Susa

Box 11, Folder 4

Udine: Cividale

Box 11, Folder 5

Varese: Arsago, Brebbia, Gallarate and Sesto Calende

Box 11, Folder 6

Veneto: Torcello and Vicenza

Box 11, Folder 6

Verbano-Cusio-Ossola: Mergazzo and Pallanza

Box 11, Folder 6


Box 11, Folder 7-12


Box 11, Folder 7

Bardolino and Gasso Veronese

Box 11, Folder 8

Porcile, San Giorgio in Valpolicella, Sirmione, Sommacampagna and Villanova

Box 11, Folder 9-12


Box 12, Folder 1-3


Box 12, Folder 1

Civita Castellana

Box 12, Folder 2

Ferento, Montefiascone and Nepi

Box 12, Folder 3


Box 12, Folder 4

Italian school

Box 12, Folder 5

Italian unidentified

Box 13, Folder 1


Box 13-14


Box 13, Folder 2

Asturias : Oviedo

Box 13, Folder 2


Box 13, Folder 3

Burgos: Arenillas de San Pelayo, Cerezo de Riotirón, San Quirce, Santibáñez-Zarzaguda, Silos and Siones

Box 13, Folder 4


Box 13, Folder 4

Catalonia : Agramunt, Baget, Barcelona, Ripoll and Vich

Box 13, Folder 4

Ciudad Real : Solana

Box 13, Folder 4

Extremadura : Mérida

Box 13, Folder 5

Galicia : Betanzos and Santiago de Compostela

Box 13, Folder 5

Huesca : Huesca, Iguacel, Jaca, Loarre and Santa Cruz de la Serós

Box 13, Folder 6

La Coruña

Box 13, Folder 6

La Rioja

Box 13, Folder 6


Box 13, Folder 6

Lérida : Covet, Verdú and Vilagrasa

Box 13, Folder 6


Box 13, Folder 7

Navarre : Estella, Olite, Sangüesa and Tudela

Box 13, Folder 7


Box 13, Folder 7

Palencia : Aguilar de Campóo, Carrión de los Condes, Cervatos, Palencia and San Martín de Frómista

Box 13, Folder 7

Quirós : Bárzano

Box 13, Folder 8

Salamanca : Ciudad Rodrigo and Salamanca

Box 14, Folder 1

Segovia : Fuentidueña, Segovia and Sepúlveda

Box 14, Folder 2


Box 14, Folder 2


Box 14, Folder 2


Box 14, Folder 3


Box 14, Folder 3


Box 14, Folder 4-5

Spanish school

Box 14, Folder 6



Supplementary materials

Box 14, Folder 7

Documentation of Porter display at the Getty Research Institute

Box 14, Folder 8

James Paton Collection photographs and other photographs supplied by Harvard

Box 14, Folder 8

French: Beaune, Dijon, Grenade and Reims

Box 14, Folder 8

Italian: Lazio, Perugia, Piedmont, Rome, Terni and Tuscany