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How to use us

Mary Evans Picture Library licenses images for use in books, newspapers, exhibitions, websites and all manner of other media. Our images cover a broad range of topics, with the overarching themes of history and film. Our range, however, extends far beyond most people's perception of historical pictures, to include areas such as fashion, design, society and, uniquely, the paranormal.

Our material has traditionally been used in an editorial context to illustrate news stories, magazine articles and the like, but today it is increasingly sought by creatives looking for different and stimulating imagery around which to base advertising campaigns or commercial design projects.

We offer a full digital service, enabling you to search, order and download images online. Unlike some of our larger competitors, we still offer a personal, professional picture research service, for those occasions when you can't find what you're looking for or don't have time to search yourself. Every time you contact Mary Evans Picture Library, you're assisted by an experienced and knowledgeable picture researcher.
Q:How do I order pictures?
A:Once you have found images you are interested in using, and have selected them on our website, click 'Order'. Fill in some details about the proposed use on the short form if you can, as this will help us to quote for the licensing fee. If you prefer, you can simply email us on with the image numbers and your proposed use. Either way, we will get back to you promptly with our fees, and you can then decide if you would like to go ahead.
Q:Where can I find your rates?
A:We licence images for an wide range of uses from greetings cards and advertising posters, to museum displays and digital learning products (including some more unusual licences such as scented car sachets, wallpaper and even tattoos). For this reason, we are unable to list our full range of fees on this website, as they are based on the type and extent of use. We will need to know what it is you are using the image for, and, where relevant, the print run or number of units produced, the distribution, size and time scale. We are happy to discuss preferential deals based on quantity, or agree special fees for regular users. If you have a licence fee query or require a quote, please contact our researchers on +44(0)20 8318 0034 or email
Q:How do you supply your pictures?
A:We usually supply images as high-resolution scans to download from a secure web page accessible via an emailed link. Images are scanned at 300dpi and we usually provide both a TIF file (approximately 30 to 40 mb file size) and a JPG (compressed to around 4mb). Some of our contributor pictures are only available in JPG format. For special uses, we can re-scan to a higher file size (usually at no extra charge) but this can take time, especially where we do not own the original. We are no longer able to send scans on a CD or DVD and we no longer supply photographic transparencies or original printed material.
Q:Can I set up a long term rates agreement if I use lots of your pictures?
A:Yes, we are happy to arrange rates agreements for clients who use our images frequently. Please contact Luci Gosling on +44 (0)20 8318 0034 or email if you would like to discuss setting up a rates agreement.
Q:Can I search by your picture number on the website?
A:Yes, just type the eight digit reference number (without any letter suffix) into the search box, e.g . 10092935
Q:How can other people view the pictures I've saved in my lightbox?
A:Our website includes a facility for emailing lightboxes of selected images to colleagues and associates. To use this facility you must be registered and logged in. Then, once you have completed your search and selected the images you wish to include, choose 'Email Lightbox' from the Tools drop-down menu, fill in the form, and click send.
Q:Does copyright have to be cleared with any third party?
A:You do not need to contact any other parties to clear copyright to use our pictures in the vast majority of cases. A very small number of images on our site may need additional copyright clearance, but where that is the case, it will be clearly marked, and you should contact us for further details.
Q:It is possible to have a print of one of your pictures to display at home?
A:We have a dedicated website at through which you can buy excellent quality reproduction digital prints of most of our images for home or personal use.
Q:Who was Mary Evans?
A:Mary Evans, together with her husband Hilary, began the Mary Evans Picture Library in 1964 turning their interest in collecting antiquarian books and prints into a thriving business. Mary died in June 2010, and Hilary died in July 2011. Their daughter Valentine remains actively involved in the running of the library. For more information on the history of the library please click here.

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