In 1859 Henry Cole, director of the South Kensington Museum, as the Victoria and Albert Museum was formerly known, commissioned forty-four photographs of buildings in Rome. The study of the motives behind, and circumstances of, this commission, has led to a reconsideration of contemporary practices of architectural planning at South Kensington, for it has become apparent that these photographs were intended and used as source materials for architectural constructions then in progress under Cole’s direction. In 1975 Nicholas Taylor discussed the photographs and how they were used, but his essay was not concerned with identifying the photographs and their subjects. As a result of new research into documentation regarding the photographs, this identification is now possible, and it is hoped that this will shed some new light upon the evolution of the South Kensington ‘style’, which has been discussed at length by previous authors. As Cole’s photographic survey may be considered as something of a landmark in the early history of architectural photography, this essay will also discuss the significance of photography as a new medium for the representation of architectural source material, along with the importance of this for architectural revivalism in the 1860s.