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Music for the Creative Industries (HE): Free Image Collections


Images are generally subject to copyright and cannot be downloaded and used without permission or rights waived. 
Some of the websites listed below have collections of free images. 
Please make sure you check for any image copyright restrictions and always cite and/or reference to give credit. 
The Library subscribes to a number of electronic databases with images that can be used for educational purposes.   
See the section called "E-Journals and Databases" for more information on these.


The following are mainly free to use for educational purposes.  They can be used by college staff or students and incorporated in to your work.   Don’t forget to credit if you are using them.  *As with all collections look at the website for terms of use.

Europeana Collections                                                                    This collection is home to the European Digital Library.  It has over 53,000,000 images and videos, covering it covering Art, music and Fashion.  They include some national libraries, universities, and other institutions.  Go to “explore”, then “sources” to see participating institutions.

Flickr                                                                                          You can search for images with a variety of rights, e.g., “no copying”,   “non-commercial  use only” or “full public domain”.

Free Images                                                                                                 You can use these images freely in any capacity as long as you credit the website by downloading their banner or provide a text-link to their website.

Image after                                                                                                                 Organised into subjects e.g. architecture, nature etc. with a mixture of download-able free stock images and stock images for a very small fee.

National Education network                                                                 Primarily set up for use by teachers to help in their teaching, images are categorised into broad subjects. You can registered and upload your own images to share with the community (subject to website approval).  

Visual Arts Data Service                                                                                                  This has over 100,000 images available from over 60 digital collections; including the new West Yorkshire Textile Heritage Project.

Welcome Images                                                                                            Primarily a Medical Picture Library, and yet it has added content to support other subjects such as history and culture.

Galleries and Museums

These organisations often have their own search-able archives, some key ones are:

British Library                                                             There are over 1,000,000 images on flickr commons

British Library (The Illustration Archive)                                       A project run for Cardiff University to offer searchable illustration archive of over 60,000  books from 19th century in the British Library.  All are in the public domain.

British Museum                          Over 2,300,000 records all can be downloaded under a creative –commons non-commercial license.  Images should be credited with © Trustees of the British Museum. 

Glasgow School of Art

Imperial War Museum

National Portrait Gallery                         You can search by either the artist or the sitter.

Smithsonian Institute                                                                        Washington museum with over 10,000,000 search-able objects.

Tate Collections Online

V & A