John Henry Parker Collection


John Henry Parker was a publisher and bookseller in Oxford, amateur archaeologist and writer on architecture, who became the first keeper of the Ashmolean Museum in 1870, a position he endowed. After an attack of rheumatic fever he was advised to spend the winters in warmer climates and he first went to Rome in 1863 where, to quote the Dictionary of National Biography ‘he devoted himself with enthusiasm to the study of the ancient remains’. In 1865 he founded the British Archaeological Society of Rome which soon became the British and American Archaeological Society of Rome.

The Collection
Parker commissioned professional photographers (Carlo Baldassare Simelli (1881-1877?) Francesco Sidoli (1817-1896), Giovan Battista Colamedici (active 1866-1907), Filippo Lais (active 1860-1892), Filippo Spina (active 1860-1890) and Charles Smeaton (active 1850-) to document the archaeology, architecture and monuments of Rome; 3,300 images which were then sold commercially. The incomplete set in the BSR Photographic Archive – 2,431 albumen prints glued on cardboard, came from the British and American Archaeological Society of Rome.

What’s online
Between 2012 and 2014 Jim and Angela Ball, Peter Brown and Peter and Ann Wiseman generously funded the cataloguing and digitization of the whole collection that is now available for consultation.

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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