The Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) is an outstanding online resource for educators, students, researchers, and anyone with an interest in art and design. The site provides access to 47 collections of photography, paintings, posters, and other imagery. Some are relatively small, such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Northern Italian Sketchbook, containing 94 pages of his architectural drawings, while others are massive, like the Design Council’s Slide Collection of 13,202 images. It’s all searchable, of course. Search for “chair” and you’ll get everything from a black and white of a Charles Eames chair to a color photo of an antique from the Frederick Parker Chair Collection at London Metropolitan University. There are posters from the Imperial War Museum, several collections from the London College of Fashion, and one from the Museum of Design in Plastics. To accompany the collections, VADS provides a series of learning and teaching resources, such as Calligraphy: an education in letter form, Fabrics forming society, and The Life and Work of Bernard Leach. From their About page:
VADS is the online resource for visual arts. It has provided services to the academic community for 12 years and has built up a considerable portfolio of visual art collections comprising over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK.
Of course, there is a blog as well, so you can keep up on additions to the collections. Especially for teachers of art and design, it’s a bookmark you’ll want to keep handy.