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Library Guides

Referencing: Including images

This guide provides resources to support your citation and referencing practice in line with academic requirements


Why include images in your work?

It is possible to refer to images without including the image in your text, and Cite them right provides information about this. 

However, if you are writing at length about an image, then you will probably want to include it in your work.  This is particularly the case if you are writing as a visual arts student, where there is an expectation that you include visual references.  

Do I need permission to include images?

There are two important exceptions to copyright law which mean that you can include an image without asking for permission.  

Exceptions for education or teaching
You can use copyrighted work in your academic work, as long as it is necessary to illustrate a point, and you provide sufficient acknowledgement of the authorship. 

This exception is limited to the context of education, and does not include making things available outside of an education setting (e.g. on a blog), even if the purpose of that is educational.

Exceptions for criticism or review
Another exception to copyright is if you are using the work for the purposes of quotation, criticism or review. 

You should provide sufficient acknowledgement, and your use should not extend beyond what is necessary for the purposes of quotation, criticism or review.  Your use should be 'fair,' so for example, you cannot publish a whole book (or a substantial part of it) for the purposes of reviewing it!

Including images in your work

This section sets out an approach when including images in your work, including the following:

  • Provide a figure number and caption under each image
  • Provide a list of illustrations at the start of your assignment, arranged in the order in which they appear
  • Include the sources of your illustrations in the references list (Harvard approach) or notes (running notes approach)

There is no official guidance on this at the university, so what is set out below is an example of what is commonly done.

Figure numbers/captions
You should include name of artist, Title of artwork. Medium (if relevant), dimensions (if relevant), date, collection where the work is held (if appropriate - optional).  If its your own work, you can say 'Collection of the artist.'

Fox Talbot - A tree in winter

Fig. 1 William Henry Fox Talbot,  An oak tree in winter. Photograph, 19 × 17 cm, c. 1842-3, The J. Paul Getty Museum


Fig 1. William Henry Fox Talbot, An oak tree in winter, c. 1842-3

NB: the date of this work is uncertain, which is why it is circa 1842-3

In text reference shown in Figure 1 (Fox Talbot, c. 1842-43)

List of figures
Include the same information as in the caption, plus the page in your work on which the image appears

Fig. 1 William Henry Fox Talbot,  An oak tree in winter. Photograph, 19.4 × 16.6 cm, c. 1842-3, The J. Paul Getty Museum......... Page 2

List of references / notes
Include the full information on the source.  For example, the following follows the Harvard approach:

Fox Talbot, W. H. (c. 1842-3) An oak tree in winter [photograph].  The J. Paul Getty Museum. Available from:,0.7913,0.98 (Accessed 26th March 2019)


Fox Talbot, W. H. (c. 1842-3) An oak tree in winter [photograph].  The J. Paul Getty Museum. Available from: (Accessed 26th March 2019)