The PEF’s collection of photographs dates from the 1850s to the present day and reflects the wide range of interests of those involved with the organisation throughout this period.

At the heart of the collection are the PEF’s own 19th century photographs, taken by Sgt. James MacDonald during Ordnance Surveys of Jerusalem (1864-5) and Sinai (1868) and by Sgt. Henry Phillips for the surveys of Warren in the 1870s.
Portrait of Sheikh Khalil Senaah at Kerak. C. A. Hornstein, 1895-1899. (PEF-P2364).
Wady Feiran in the Sinai Desert. F. M. Good, 1866-1867 (PEF-P2030).

The PEF also houses a significant collection of donated photographs dating from the 1850s, as well as more commercial images by photographs such as Bonfils, Robertson & Beato, Francis Frith, Frank Mason Good, James Graham, The American Colony, Zangaki, Krikorian and Raad. Many were donated to the PEF by Elizabeth Ann Finn, wife of James Finn, the British Consul in Jerusalem. There are also First World War photographs taken during the Beersheba Campaign, in particular those of Captain Arthur Rhodes of the Canterbury Rifles.

Many of the PEF’s photographs from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries are published in three volumes:

  • Jerusalem in Original Photographs: 1850–1920 by Shimon Gibson
  • The Wilderness of Zin by C. L. Woolley and T.E Lawrence
  • Beyond the River: Ottoman Transjordan in Original Photographs by Raouf Sa’d Abujaber and Felicity Cobbing
Panoramic photograph of the Dome of the Rock (Mosque of Omar), Haram al-Sharif, Jerusalem. Capt. Arthur Rhodes, 1917 (PEF-P-RHODES-111).

John Garstang, director of the BSAJ excavations at Jericho (1930-1936). He is shown photographing a recently excavated archaeological deposit (PEF-GAR-JER-PN21-2).

From more recent times we have photographs from independent travellers such as Arthur Langley and Robert Pitt, Derek Riley’s research collection of aerial photographs of archaeological features in Israel, Robert Bewley and David Kennedy’s aerial photographs of archaeological sites in Jordan, and Iain Browning’s photographs of Petra, Jerash, and Palmyra.

Prints of a number of high resolution photographs from the PEF collection are available for purchase either directly from the PEF, or via the Bridgeman Art Library.

In addition, a selection of low resolution images from the PEF’s 19th century photographic collections can be accessed on the Palestine Exploration Fund’s pages on Flickr. You may use any of the images and metadata for teaching and research, but please let us know if you intend to do so by writing to us: Please include in your caption: “Courtesy of the Palestine Exploration Fund”.


The PEF’s picture collection includes pen and charcoal sketches, watercolours, and oils.

There are four principle artists: Elizabeth Ann Finn, William ‘Crimea’ Simpson, Lieut. Claude Conder, and James Clark.

Elizabeth Ann Finn’s paintings and sketches reflect Palestine as experienced by a Victorian lady of significant influence both in the PEF and the wider world. Mrs Finn was a leading philanthropist who invested heavily in welfare concerns in Palestine. She was also a patron of artists and photographers working in the Holy Land, including Holman Hunt and James Graham. She was involved with the PEF from 1865 until her death in 1921.

“Blind Beggar, Jerusalem” James Clark, 1886 (Charcoal on paper, PEF-PI-76)
“Fallen Voussoirs of Robinson’s Arch. Jerusalem” W. Simpson, 1869 (Watercolor, pencil on paper, PEF-PI-16).

Whilst leading the Survey of Western Palestine in the 1870s, Lieut. Claude Conder produced numerous watercolours primarily of landscapes and individuals. They bring vivid colour to a place and time captured increasingly in black and white through the lens of the camera.

James Clark was a professional artist who made his living painting portraits. His real passion was the Holy Land. He was commissioned by the Scripture Gift Mission to produce illustrations for their Bibles. In the 1920s he was persuaded by the successful painter and PEF Committee member Henry Harper to donate some of his evocative paintings to the PEF.

“Athlit or Castle Pilgrim” Claude Conder, undated (Watercolour, pencil on paper. PEF-PI-106)
“Valley of Kedron, Absalom’s Tomb – Village of Siloam.” James Clark, February 1887 (Watercolour on paper, PEF-PI-144).

There are several other paintings and studies by various artists, including Richard Phene Speres and Henry Harper. Prints of a wide range of our pictures can be purchased directly from the PEF, or via the Bridgeman Art Library.