John Cooper Ashton Collection

Scope and Content

Lantern slides of European scenery, antiquities and natural history, collected by John Cooper Ashton. Particularly strong in ecclesiastical architecture. Mainly photographs by Ashton but includes several slides published by commercial photographers, c1880-1936
With some of Ashton's notes and press cuttings

Parts of the collection are arranged for a series of six lectures which Ashton delivered to interested societies. They are described in detail in a printed syllabus. Three are devoted to Italy and one each to Dalmatia and France. The sixth was entitled 'A glance at nature’s gallery' and contains photographs of natural history phenomena, including photomicrographs illustrating marine biology, aimed particularly at children. The collection also contains the manuscript text of this lecture. Other groups of photographs were taken on angling expeditions based at Pontoon, County Mayo, Ireland and at Porthouslock, near Mevagissey, Cornwall, as well as various other places along the South Coast of England. These include scenes with fellow members of the British Sea Anglers’ Society, of which Ashton was curator. In addition there is a substantial collection devoted to the Martinware pottery of R W Martin & Brothers at Southall, Middlesex, with views of the potters at work as well as of their products.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Cooper Ashton (fl 1880-1935) was proprietor of coffee rooms in High Holborn, London. Ashton was also a proficient angler and gifted amateur photographer. He had special permission from the Italian government to photograph churches in Italy and this collection includes many interiors and close-ups of architectural details, perfected by frequent visits. There is also extensive coverage of ecclesiastical and other buildings in Britain, Dalmatia and France, with more selective views of Spain, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. His collection includes many passing scenes of everyday life and events in these countries.


Boxes 1-6 contain slides arranged for lectures. Contents of most other boxes have been rehoused at some stage. Many slides are unnumbered, others have multiple numbering for different sequences. In general the arrangement as received has been preserved, except for items clearly misplaced. Ashton is assumed to be the photographer except where there is clear indication otherwise.

Access Information

Access to certain records within this collection may be restricted or closed for reasons of conservation or preservation. Please email Archives and Special Collections for advice:

Acquisition Information

Gift : c1988

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents. Applications for permission to quote should be sent to Archives and Special Collections, please email:

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 247 procedures

Custodial History

Collection believed to have been transferred from History of Art c1988. It is not known when the collection was acquired by the University.


None expected


Corporate Names