Stuart Cary Welch, Jr. (1928-2008) was a celebrated curator, lecturer, and collector of Islamic and Indian art. His professional positions included special consultant in charge of the Department of Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a post he held from 1979 to 1987, and honorary keeper, then curator of Islamic art at Harvard University’s Fogg Museum from 1956 to 2008.
In the course of his long career in the latter half of the 20th century, he assembled over 60,000 35 mm slides for his research and teaching, documenting his unique access to private and public art collections from across the world.
This includes the photographs he used to create his most famous work, a two-volume concordance of the now-dispersed Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp (colloquially known as the Houghton Shahnama). Though his final publication contained few color images, every folio is reproduced in full color, and sometimes in situ, in the photograph collection now held by the Fine Arts Library.
The Fine Arts Library is currently in the process of digitizing, color-correcting, and cataloging this important collection, which is made open access as it is completed. View the images currently cataloged.
The collection consists mostly of high-definition photographs of paintings and drawings, both famous and rare, but it also contains images of historical photographs, metalwork, and architecture.