RMG Images assists professional image researchers in finding and licensing images from the Museum’s collections for use. It contains over 45,000 images from the collections held at the Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House. Images can be licensed for a range of media, including programme making, film production, book publishing, magazine and news production and digital products, such as online content, apps and ebooks.

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Maritime history, trade and exploration

Many images in our collections offer a window into life at sea, including ships and dockyards, vessel figureheads and decorations, naval uniforms, diving, ship plans and models, coins, medals and flags. Items document the history of the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy, over 500 years of Trinity House and safety at sea, the development of sea charts and maps from the medieval era to the present day, the golden age of cruise travel, relics of the Atlantic slave trade, pirates, buccaneers and treasure, plus three centuries of trade and empire tracing the story of globalisation and exchange.

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Astronomy, navigation and time

RMG Images includes images of historical scientific instruments that document around 800 years of astronomy, navigation and timekeeping. Highlights include Map of the moon (third edition, 1952) by H Percy Wilkins, John Harrison’s famous navigational timepieces of the 1700s, a range of historical astrolabes and constellation cards, plus portraits of well-known Astronomers Royal and clock makers including Galileo, Edmond Halley, Derek Howse, Thomas Earnshaw and George Graham.

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Famous battles

Our images depict artefacts and memorabilia from famous sea battles, paintings of war throughout the ages, a rich collection of historic photographs from the First and Second World Wars, plus contemporary works by Eric Ravilious, Barnett Freedman, John Everett, Herbert Barnard, Richard Eurich, Norman Wilkinson, Stephen Bone, William Dring, John Worsley, Charles Wheeler and John Kingsley Cook.

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Famous people

RMG Images offers access to portraits and photographs of famous people including Captain James Cook, Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson and his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton, Napoleon Bonaparte, 16th and 17th century historical portraits including those of Kings and Queens of England, seamen of the Franklin expedition, plus Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

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Fine art

The fine art collection includes historical oil paintings, engravings, drawings and watercolours. Royal portraits from the 16th and 17th century include Queen Elizabeth I, King Henry VIII, Charles II, Mary I and Philip II Spain. Notable maritime portraits include Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, Napoleon Bonaparte, Sir Francis Drake and Captain James Cook. Many works in our collection depict battles at sea, ports around the world, exploration, plus well known astronomers and inventors associated with navigation and timekeeping.

Notable artists include J.M.W. Turner, Edward Lear, the van de Veldes (Elder and Younger), Joshua Reynolds, Nicholas Pocock, George Stubbs, Peter Lely and William Hodges.

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Notable ships

Highlights include photographs and paintings of Cutty Sark (1869), the world's last surviving tea clipper and one of Britain's greatest maritime treasures, the ill-fated passenger liner RMS Titanic (1912), plus photographs of tall ships by Richard Sibley and Alan Villiers. We also offer ship plans of Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Belfast (1938).

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Using RMG images

Free image use conditions 

Lower resolution files at 72dpi can be used free of charge for non-commercial projects. Non-commercial is defined as not for sale or directed towards commercial advantage or monetary compensation. 

Provided that a lower resolution (72dpi) file is already available on the Images website or our Collections you can download the files, for free, under the following conditions. Lower resolution files are 1280 pixels in length on the longest dimension.

  • A maximum of 15 lower-resolution files can be used in any single project.
  • Only 72dpi files are to be used for websites (high-resolution files of 300dpi are not permitted for this use).
  • Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) licence terms apply.

Images website

You can browse the Royal Museums Greenwich Images website and register free of charge. Registered users can save picture searches, apply for licenses online and receive updates about new items available.

Image format

The RMG Images licensing service is completely digital. Images are supplied in standard high-resolution file at 300dpi RGB jpeg, at least 4800 pixels longest side. If you require a larger file or a detail we can resupply items to your specification. This service can take slightly longer to supply and may incur further fees.

Licensing images

We license images for many different uses including programme making, film production, book publishing, magazine and news production and digital products, such as online content, apps and ebooks. Please contact us for more details. We also provide licenses for academic use. Please enquire about our academic discounts.

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Contact us

If you have any questions or queries about RMG Images or the image licensing service, contact the team.

Email: images@rmg.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 8312 6631 / 6558 between 9.00–17.00 hours, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.