Colonel Percy H. Fawcett during expedition to Mato Grosso, 1925, artist unknown
Courtesy of the Royal Geographical Society
The Royal Geographical Society’s Collection and Picture Library hold over half a million photographs, artworks, negatives, lantern slides and albums dating from around 1830. The collection offers a rich source of imagery, from a ‘golden age’ of travel and exploration, to modern geographical depictions. Historic images range from the great Antarctic adventures of Scott and Shackleton to the pioneering journeys of Livingstone, Baker, Speke and Burton.
A large number of images concern the Middle East, Central Asia and Tibet, the Everest, Antarctica and the Arctic.

Latin American and Caribbean Holdings

The RGS has a large collection of images from Latin America. With thousands of images, it ranges from expeditions to travellers’ accounts, landscapes and cityscapes, postcards, anthropological images, records of local populations and investigations into the fauna and flaura.
It also holds a smaller Caribbean collection, many of which have been digitised for the online image website at
The collection is particularly rich in photographs made after the 1890s in Brazil and Peru. It is composed of loose photographs, albums and illustrated books.


Comprehensive online catalogue (holds records of the majority of the Picture Library’s collection):

The RGS collections of photographs can be consulted in the Foyle Reading Room.

Royal Geographical Society
1 Kensington Gore
London SW7 2AR
T: +44 (0)20 7591 3000

Online Collection enquiry:

Opening Times and Charges

10.00-17.00, Monday to Friday. (Closed public holidays).

• Free to RGS-IBG members and those in formal education
• £10 per day for members of the public
• free staff support for initial enquiries
• a charging policy covers detailed one-to-one help and research

View of Rio de Janeiro from the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin, 1931.
Courtesy of the Royal Geographical Society.