What's your role at Bridgeman Images?
I founded Bridgeman Images in 1972. Through my experience as an editor of illustrated books, I knew there was a demand for a central database of images. Museums also needed help with their finances. We handle the reproduction rights of their collections on their behalf, they receive 50% of any monies generated.
What do you love most about your job?
I love travelling around the world seeking and acquiring new collections. We're also able to provide jobs for History of Art graduates. It's a pleasure to work with people who are as interested in art as I am.
What misconceptions do people most commonly have about the archive?
We changed our name from Bridgeman Art Library to Bridgeman Images to underline our collection's extraordinary width. It covers history, photography and every aspect of culture as well as the obvious art.
A selection of Lady Bridgeman's favourite images and footage
Jeffrey Smart, artist
Jeffrey Smart is an Australian surrealist artist who recently died. I visited him in Tuscany and greatly enjoyed both his company and his paintings. His work is now beginning to fetch deservedly high prices in Australia.
At the same time, I visited Matthew Spender. He is the son of Stephen Spender whose photographic collection we now represent.
Stanley Spencer, artist
I met Stanley Spencer while I was still at school. I have always been very impressed by this work.
More recently I met his daughter Unity. She told me that her father was very cross with her when he painted this picture as she had just cut her fringe!
Mark Gerson, photographer
This was photographed by an old friend, Mark Gerson. He photographed all the great and the good in the art and literary world in the latter part of the last century.
Mark told me that he was staying with the Waughs when he took this photograph. I have many memories of the amusing stories he told me of this time.
Lincoln Seligman, artist
Lincoln Seligman left a very successful job in banking to become an equally successful professional artist. I remember the exhibition in which this picture was featured. He generously donated half the proceeds to an Indian eye charity.
Together we successfully fought a case against the piracy of one of his paintings. We were awarded an out of court settlement and a case of champagne.
Philip de László, moving image photographer
The de László archive was one of the first footage archives we acquired. This was thanks to the generosity of the artist's grandson, Damon de László.
It is a wonderful record of pre-war England. The society it features is not dissimilar to the one portrayed in Downton Abbey.
Orlando Bridgeman, aged 8
At precisely that moment my youngest son walked in with this painting from his art class. To my surprise and his delight, they chose it as an alternative!
In the news
Arts head: Harriet Bridgeman, founder of Bridgeman Art Library – The Guardian
Harriet Bridgeman: The first lady of fine art – The Independent
My favourite painting: Harriet Bridgeman – Country Life magazine
Picture perfect: a profile of Lady Harriet Bridgeman – Trinity News
Lady Harriet Bridgeman – Young Masters
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