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Downloading images from Search the Collections
Frequently Asked Questions

1. I cannot download the high resolution image I have ordered.

For any technical queries, please contact our web team at webmaster@vam.ac.uk

2. The high resolution image I have downloaded appears to be too small.

All high resolution images featured on Search the Collections are up to 2500 pixels along the longest side of the image (300dpi), and of a printing quality up to A5 in size. You need to register on Search the Collections to download high resolution images. If you do not register, you can only download low resolution images which are up to 768 pixels along the longest side (72dpi) and suitable for personal use.

If you want to publish images larger than A5, please contact our image licensing team, V&A Images.

3. I would like to download a low resolution image for non-commercial research or private study.

You can download low resolution images for certain uses without needing permission from the copyright holder. Please see question 8.

To download an image for this purpose, right click on the image and select 'save picture as/copy image' from the pop-up menu.

4. I would like to use an image for a purpose not covered by Search the Collections terms and conditions.

If you would like to use an image for a use not covered by our terms and conditions, please contact our image licensing team, V&A Images.

5. Why are some images marked 'image unavailable'?

We publish new images and information on our free image resource Search the Collections every month. At the end of August 2011, the number of images available online was 230,728 and we intend to make images of all collection items available. We hope you will enjoy our free resource.

If you would like an image of a collection item which is not currently available on Search the Collections, please contact our image licensing team, V&A Images.

6. Why are some images marked 'in copyright'?

Some collection items on Search the Collections are still in copyright and the V&A may not be the copyright holder. Images of these collection items are restricted as they may require special permission. Images of these items are therefore not available for high resolution download.

7. How do I use an image of a work that is marked 'in copyright'?

Should you wish to order an image marked 'in copyright', please contact copyrightenquiries@vam.ac.uk for further advice quoting 'marked in copyright' in the subject field of your message.

8. Are there instances where images of 'in copyright' works may be downloaded and used without requiring permissions from the rights holder?

The UK Copyright, Design and Patent Act 1988 as amended and revised lists a limited number of examples or 'exceptions' where images of 'in copyright' works may be copied. These exceptions are known as 'Fair Dealing'.

Examples include:

  • Copying for research of a non-commercial nature and private study e.g. use in a thesis submitted by a student for the purpose of securing a degree
  • Criticism and review e.g. an image accompanies an essay, which is a review or criticism and is directly commented on in the essay
  • Incidental inclusion of a work e.g. a sculpture in the background of a general gallery shot

If you are not sure if your intended use is allowed or you need further help, please contact copyrightenquiries@vam.ac.uk

9. How do I contact the V&A with a general enquiry?

We hope that you find our service useful and welcome your feedback. Please contact us at vanda@vam.ac.uk

If you have an enquiry about the service not covered above, please contact us via our enquiries form.