Foster Slides (Early Christian Architecture and Antiquities)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

765 35mm slides of early Christian architecture and antiquities, made from illustrations in a wide range of published works and from postcards and private photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ian John Charles Foster (1908-1978), Orientalist librarian, was appointed to the staff of Durham University Library in 1946, and was its Keeper of Oriental Books from 1958 until his retirement in 1973. A notable linguist, his chief research interest was in the field of early Christian architecture, particularly the shape and contents of early churches, on which he built up a large personal book and pictorial collection, which he bequeathed to the University Library. He communicated some of his research in a notable series of illustrated lectures to the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, for which these slides were used, but he died without producing a book on the subject.


As arranged and numbered by Foster; this arrangement may have related to the content of his lectures, but its basis is no longer apparent.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Bequest by the collector, 1978.

Other Finding Aids

List of the collection, identifying the source of each slide, and complete visual index of small black and white photographs, mounted on sheets of card, both compiled by Foster and shelved with the slides.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

Foster Papers and Foster Albums