Peter Paul Mackey Collection


Little is known of the life and personality of the English Dominican Father, Peter Paul Mackey. He was born in Erdington, near Birmingham in 1851, studied law at Oscott College and completed his theological studies in Louvain.
He arrived in Rome in 1881 to work on the Leonine edition of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas and remained in the city until his death in 1935.
Elected an Associate of the British School at Rome in 1906, he presented a set of nearly 2,000 prints and negatives (now lost) of his photographs to the BSR, accompanied by a detailed hand-written catalogue.
He was a member of the British and American Archaeological Society of Rome and would have known his fellow members including Thomas Ashby, Agnes and Dora Bulwer, Rodolfo Lanciani.

The Collection
The collection comprises 1838 photographic prints and new negatives and Mackey’s original handwritten catalogue. (link)
Mackey travelled widely in Italy and beyond. He photographed archaeological sites, monuments, particularly Rome and surroundings, Sardinia, Sicily and Malta.

What's on line
In 2002 The Getty Foundation funded a project to catalogue and digitize three unique 19th century collections in the BSR Photographic Archive which included the Mackey collection.

Publications and Exhibitions
Alistair Crawford, Images from the past. The archaeology of Sardinia at the end of the 19th century in the unpublished photographs of the Dominican Father Peter Paul Mackey, (British School at Rome Archive 5), Sassari 2000.
This publication was accompanied by an exhibition of Mackey’s photographs of Sardinia which travelled to Sassari, Cagliari and Nuoro.

Robert Coates-Stephens, Immagini e memoria. Rome in the photographs of Father Peter Paul Mackey 1890-1901 (British School at Rome Archive 5), London 2009.

In 2005 an exhibition was held at the BSR of his photographs of Rome which travelled to London in 2009 and was shown at Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Conditions governing access and reproduction
All material in this collection is available only by appointment with the Library and Archive staff.
For Usage and Reproduction see here.


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