History of Bridgeman Images

A brief history of Bridgeman Images

Harriet Bridgeman

Harriet Bridgeman

1972: a great idea for an agency

Harriet Bridgeman hits upon the idea for a central source of fine art imagery while working as an editor of illustrated art books. Bridgeman Images is formed.

The 70s and 80s: word spreads

Initially the company collaborates with fine art photographers A.C. Cooper to create transparencies of works of art. Harriet Bridgeman runs the company from the basement of her home in London's Notting Hill; word spreads and both the archive and client bases grow rapidly.

1992: going digital

By the early 90s, work has begun on a digital database of every image in the collection. 1996 sees Bridgeman specialists team up with scientists to develop ways of making images more accessible.

1999: Bridgeman goes online

Bridgeman's first fully searchable website launches in April 1999 and is now regarded as one of the web's most significant cultural resources, providing content for the Grove Macmillan Dictionary of Art Online and ArtWeb, an online gateway to museum collections built in collaboration with Réunion des Musées Nationaux.

2000: London, New York, Paris - and Berlin

1995 sees the London office move to large premises in Bayswater. 1997, and the New York office opens alongside Bridgeman Images Copyright Service. 2000 marks the inauguration of the Paris office; by 2001, the Paris office is renamed Bridgeman Giraudon following the acquisition of the prestigious French Giraudon picture archive. In 2004, the Berlin office opens, quickly acquiring images from many important German state museums and collections.

2007: changes at the top

Pandora Mather Lees and Victoria Bridgeman are made joint UK Managing Directors. Edward Whitley, manager of Bridgeman's New York office, becomes President of Bridgeman Images International. All three have also been made Company directors, while Harriet Bridgeman is made Executive Chairman, taking more of a supervisory role, with the three new directors jointly running the company and reporting to her.

2007: Bridgeman Art on Demand

Thousands of images from the Bridgeman archive are now available as high quality prints and canvases. Every image is available for custom ordering according to size, media and framing preferences. 50% of the income generated from each sale is given to the contributing institution.

2008: Bridgeman Education is launched

An online educational image subscription resource is launched for students, teachers, academics and institutions to use in learning, teaching and scholarly research. Includes over half a million copyright cleared images; providing access to the visual culture of every civilization from prehistory to the present day.

2010: Bridgeman partners with the Royal Collection

Bridgeman is selected as primary licensor of Royal Collection imagery for reproduction. Shaped by the personal tastes of the British Royal Family over more than 500 years, the Royal Collection boasts one of the best and largest art collections in the world containing paintings, manuscripts, sculpture, jewellery and other works of art.?

2011: office opens in LA

First office opened on the West Coast of the US in Los Angeles

2012: celebrating 40 years. Victoria Bridgeman takes over as CEO

Our 40th anniversary year saw great press coverage celebrating the achievements of the company and its founder and Executive Chairman, Harriet Bridgeman. Her daughter-in-law Victoria Bridgeman takes over as Chief Executive officer.

2012: archive expands to include footage

For the first time creative professionals are able to search footage clips, alongside stills, to create a complete visual package. Footage covers social history, ancient cultures, contemporary travelogues and historic arts programmes. Much of the new audio visual content is exclusive to Bridgeman and has not been represented commercially before.

2013: e-commerce website launched

After months of intense planning and preparation, Bridgeman's new E-commerce website is launched. The new features and design have been created to provide an improved search experience while streamlining the purchasing process.


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