A variety of sources for digital images, ranging from databases to free websites to photo sharing sites, can be accessed using the links below.

If you use any of the images you MUST attribute them i.e. reference them.

Main databases

Each of the following resources contains images that can be used in lectures, presentations, essays, assignments, and so on. This is possible because they have been copyright cleared for non-commercial educational use. If you are in any doubt as to the use please check the terms at the site.

Art Museum Image Gallery

Over 165,000 images covering fine art, painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, textiles, photographs and much more. The content covers a range of periods and places and has been gathered from museums and private collections.

Enter your RGU username and password into the boxes.

Bridgeman Education

Over 500,000 images from a variety of museums, collections, galleries and artists covering a variety of periods and places. Subjects covered include architecture, design, jewellery, paintings, engravings, landscapes, maps, ceramics, and much more.

Enter your RGU username and password into the boxes.

British Cartoon Archive (including the Carl Giles Digital Archive)

Social, political and economic cartoons including the Carl Giles collection.

No password needed to search the archive. To download images you will need your RGU username and password. Instructions on how to download are available on CampusMoodle.

SCRAN (Scottish Cultural Resource Access Network)

Digital images representing Scotland’s culture and history. Over 360,000 items are held in SCRAN including images, movies and sounds. Items cover art and design, culture, social sciences, sciences, tourism, and much more.

Enter your RGU username and password into the boxes.

Key websites


VADS contains over 100,000 images on a vast range of subjects. They are free and copyright cleared for non-commercial educational use, see the terms here.


WorldImages gives access to over 80000 images from the California State University Image project. All images can be used for non commercial educational purposes under a creative commons license.

Additional websites

Ad* Access

A collection of over 7000 US and Canadian adverts. The images here can be used for research, teaching and private study, more information about this here.


The Art Images for College Teaching collection has a variety of art and architecture images that are generally pre 20th century. All images can be used for educational purposes, see here for the terms.


The Architectus archive contains architectural drawings, designs and plans including unique student designs from the 1930s to the 1950s and work from post-war architects.

Capital Collections

Image library of Edinburgh City Libraries, Museums and Galleries. All images can be used for educational purposes, for more information see see here.

Culture Grid

Culture Grid brings together images and information from museums, galleries, libraries and archives. Many of the images can be used for educational purposes but you will need to check the individual image and the collection it was gathered from, each image links back to where it was found.


Images, texts, sounds and videos from a range of Europe's leading galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Each image gives copyright information directly under the preview and following the link will explain what use can be made of the image.

Luna Commons

A free public resource that offers images in a large range of areas. While the majority of images are available for non-commercial educational use some items may be subject to further restrictions. For more information see here.

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Collection Online

Approx. 400,000 images of the Met’s collection are available to download for non-commercial use, images that can be downloaded are tagged with an OASC symbol. Please check out the information about this here and the full terms and conditions about all images on the site here.

Public Health Image Library

A collection of photographs, illustrations and multimedia files. The images here are either in the public domain or copyright protected.  See the FAQs section (question 6) for more information.


Images from the collections of the British Architectural Library at the Royal Institute of British Architects covering world architecture of all periods together with related subjects such as interior design, landscape, topography, planning, construction and the decorative arts. All images on this site are the copyright of the RIBA, but low resolution copies may be downloaded free of charge for personal use or teaching purposes. Please be aware many of the images are watermarked.

V&A Collections

Images from the Victoria and Albert collections. Images can be used for non-commercial purposes although some high resolution images are restricted, see here.

Wellcome Images

Images in subjects ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical sciences. All images can be used for educational purposes.

Photo sharing websites and image search engines

The following links are to photo sharing sites where amateurs and professionals can upload images to be shared and used by others and other places that you can search for copyright free images.

On each site, check the terms and conditions, acknowledge the source and reference unless told you do not need to.

Creative Commons Search


A search engine for free photos, please check the license for each image.

Flickr creative commons pictures

Millions of photos uploaded by flickr users. Some are available to use through various creative commons licenses.


Over 100000 photos available to use. See here for the free use conditions.


A library of stock photography for use online and in print. You can see the terms of use here.

Google advanced image search

Use the usage rights drop down menu to locate images that are free to use.


A public image archive. These are free to use in your work, see here for details.


Public domain images that are free to use.


Over 350000 digital images, provided by professional and amateur photographers, and offered free to the public. Searches also return results for which you can pay.

Wikimedia Commons

A massive database of freely usable media files.