Images and photography

Finding images

The easiest way to find images of British Museum objects is to search the collection online. Depending on what you need the image for, there are several options for downloading images. See the Downloading and using images section below.

Images from other areas of the website may also be available for re-use. To check the copyright status of these images, please email

Several thousand images can be ordered directly through the Museum's commercial image service, BM Images. For more information, visit

Downloading and using images

How you download an image and what type of license you may need depends on your intended use. To determine whether it is for personal, non-commercial or commercial use, please read the Museum's copyright and permissions page

Non-commercial use

Creative Commons license

Most images that are © Trustees of the British Museum are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.


Up to 750 pixels wide (72 dpi)

  • Download images directly from the collection online
  • Right-click image and select ‘Save image as...’ or ‘Save picture as...’ etc.

Up to 2,500 pixels (300dpi)

  • Request images using the free image service
  • Click on Use image under images in the collection online
  • Images will be sent by email within 24 hours


There is no cost for the non-commercial use of images. However, the Museum welcomes donations towards the costs of photographing the collection and providing the free image service.

Commercial use

BM Images license

Even if your intended use is not for profit, it may still be deemed commercial by the Museum, in which case you must obtain a license from BM Images. For guidance on this, please read the Museum's definition of commercial use.


The size and resolution of images will depend on your intended use and budget, as well as the size/quality of the original image.


The cost of the license will depend on your intended use. For a free quote, please email BM Images with a link to the image(s) and as much information as possible about your intended use.

Commissioning new photography

Not all objects in the Museum's collection have been photographed, and some images may not be of commercial quality. Requests for new photography – carried out by our in-house photographers – should be directed to

Taking photographs in the Museum

Hand-held cameras, including those with a flash, may be used for private purposes in the galleries unless otherwise indicated. Please note that photography is not allowed in special exhibitions.

Private photography in the galleries requiring the use of a stand, special lighting or other equipment is only permitted by prior arrangement with the Broadcast Unit. You must apply for permission at least ten working days in advance, indicating which objects you propose to photograph and in which galleries.

Photographs may be taken in study rooms with permission of study room staff, but please note that some parts of the collection may not be photographed for security or preservation reasons. Light-sensitive material must be photographed without flash. The use of tripods and other photographic equipment is not permitted.

The resulting images may only be used for personal research and private study, as well as for uses allowed under the new exceptions to copyright law. The British Museum must always be properly acknowledged with the following line: Photo © [photographer]. Taken courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.

Please note that you will not be able to use or license these images for any other purpose. If you require images of objects for any other use you must obtain a license from BM Images. This includes commissioning new photography if images of the objects do not already exist.

The British Museum cannot guarantee that photographed content will not include third-party copyright. It is the responsibility of the user to determine whether any such copyright exists and whether additional permissions may be needed.

Professional filming/photography in the Museum

The Broadcast Unit deals with all professional and commercial requests to photograph exhibits and locations within the Museum. Commercial or professional photography must be arranged in advance through the Broadcast Unit. Please email