Catalogues & research tools

Search our collections through our suite of online catalogues, databases and collection guides: print material and manuscripts through our Library Catalogue; photographs, drawings and paintings through our Pictures Catalogue; wall coverings, floor coverings, garden ornament and hardware through our Collections Catalogue. Explore our collection of digitised Trade Catalogues, search the Colonial Plants Database and study our guides to special collections.

 

Picture hook hardware trade sample book (detail). Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection.
Picture hook hardware trade sample book (detail). Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection. Photograph: Penny Clay

Library Catalogue

Place card / menu card for David Jones' 100th birthday ball, Sydney Town Hall, 28th May 1938, Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection.
Place card / menu card for David Jones' 100th birthday ball, Sydney Town Hall, 28th May 1938, Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection. Photograph: Jenni Carter

Search the Library Catalogue for printed books, periodicals and other documentary material, including reports relating to Sydney Living Museums’ properties as well as pictures, manuscripts and personal papers.

Pictures catalogue

Allegorical figure of Commerce symbolising the colony of New South Wales, c1888. Watercolour painted by Augusto Lorenzini. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection.
Allegorical figure of Commerce symbolising the colony of New South Wales, c1888. Watercolour painted by Augusto Lorenzini. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection. Photograph: Paolo Busato

Search the Pictures Catalogue for paintings, drawings and photographs from the collections of all Sydney Living Museums’ properties, including the forensic photography archive at the Justice & Police Museum.

Collections catalogue

Sample from H.H. Groth & Co (Sydney) Wallpaper Sample Book no.56, 1930-1931.
Sample from H.H. Groth & Co (Sydney) Wallpaper Sample Book no.56, 1930-1931. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection.

Four material formats can currently be searched through the Collections Catalogue: Floor coverings including carpets, felt, matting, oilcloth, linoleum, felt base and vinyl; Garden Ornament including fountains, urns, planters, sundials and edging tiles; Hardware, also known as builders hardware or ironmongery, including door knobs and knockers, locks, fingerplates and escutcheons; Wall coverings including wallpaper in various formats such as sample books, rolls and fragments.

The items in the catalogue come primarily from the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection with a selection of items from the house museums within the portfolio of Sydney Living Museums.

Colonial plants database

Plate 98: Cyclamens, drawn by Guglielmo Autoriello, in H.A. James Hand-book of Australian horticulture published: Turner & Henderson, Sydney, 1892.
Plate 98: Cyclamens, drawn by Guglielmo Autoriello, in H.A. James Hand-book of Australian horticulture published: Turner & Henderson, Sydney, 1892. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection

The Colonial Plants Database includes more than 11,000 listings of plants known to be available in the colony of NSW prior to the 1870s. The database is compiled from several sources, including Botanic Gardens records, nursery catalogues and manuscript plant lists created by early colonists such as colonial secretary Alexander Macleay.

Digital trade catalogues

Trade catalogue published by Farmer & Company Limited, Sydney: Spring and summer fashions: season 1897-1898.
Trade catalogue published by Farmer & Company Limited, Sydney: Spring and summer fashions: season 1897-1898. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, TCQ 658.871 FAR

A number of trade catalogues related to architectural ironwork, architectural papier-mâche, art metalwork, furniture and furnishings, hardware, household goods, joinery, lighting, linoleum, stained glass, terracotta, tiles and wallpaper have been digitised and can be accessed through the electronic record display link attached to relevant items in the Library Catalogue or via the Digital Trade Catalogues page.

Finding aids

Alan Spearman Evans Collection

The gazing globe on the roof garden of Feltex House, Sydney, 5 April 1940.
The gazing globe on the roof garden of Feltex House, Sydney, 5 April 1940. Photo: Alan Evans. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection COL_EC18_PRO_N_052

Alan Spearman Evans (1902-1963) was a Sydney-based amateur photographer who spent much of his life recording his houses, gardens and workplaces as well as those of his family and friends. Many of the houses photographed by Evans have survived and a number have been heritage listed. The collection includes over 2000 photographic images taken by Evans between 1924 and 1957.

Marion Hall Best Collection

Interior with colourful textitles.
Detail of showroom interior of Marion Best Pty Ltd in Queen Street, Woollahra Sydney, 1968. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney Living Museums

Marion Hall Best was one of Australia's most important and influential 20th-century interior designers. She was an outstanding figure in the dissemination of the ideas of international modernism in relation to interiors in Australia. The Marion Hall Best collection includes papers, plans, photographs, wallpapers, fabrics and other furnishings related to her career.