External News and Events
News - Another 21,000 Paintings Join the Nation’s Art Collection on Your Paintings
Public Invited to Tag Paintings to Help Build a National Online Catalogue
Your Paintings is the first project of its kind to create a complete online catalogue of every oil painting in the national collection, at www.bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings. The Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF), in partnership with the BBC, today announced that a further 21,000 oil paintings have been added to the Your Paintings website. This takes the total to 145,000 paintings on the site.
Two national museums join the site today: The National Portrait Gallery and Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. The National Portrait Gallery, an enthusiastic supporter of the PCF since inception, holds the nation’s foremost portrait collection with over 330,000 portraits from the 16th century to the present day. Today, the gallery’s entire collection of oil paintings joins Your Paintings with almost 3,000 now available to see on the site.
Your Paintings welcomes some 2,400 works from the Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales collection, having so far been represented by a sample selection of paintings. The collection highlights Wales’ unique visual tradition and its place within a wider British and International context through works from Tudor to modern Wales, and masterpieces of Impressionism including Renoir’s La Parisienne which featured in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.
Among the latest collections uploaded to the site is The Ashmolean. Founded in 1683, The Ashmolean is Britain’s oldest public museum and possibly the oldest museum in the world. Works by Batoni, Canaletto, van Dyck, van Gogh, Monet, Rubens, Titian and Uccello are among the 1,500 paintings that have been added to the site.
The PCF is delighted to see the first half of the City of Westminster’s collections uploaded, which brings us one step closer to finishing the digitisation of Greater London’s enormous art collection which has had to be divided into several ‘bite-size’ chunks. The Royal Academy of Arts entire collection of 900 oil paintings is being revealed for the first time on Your Paintings. Works include Giampietrino’s early copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Other highlights in Westminster are the Ministry of Defence Art Collection with a unique Leonardo Guzzardi Portrait of Admiral Horatio Nelson, an astounding contemporary collection at the Royal College of Art, and the largest ensemble of portraits of English medieval and Tudor monarchs outside The National Portrait Gallery at the Society of Antiquaries, whose collection was assembled before the foundation of the country’s national museums and galleries.
Over 2,500 paintings drawn from 46 National Trust properties in the West Midlands, North West of England, including the Lake District, and Northern Ireland have been added to the site. Your Paintings now boasts half of the National Trust’s vast collection of some 12,500 works, the rest of which will join the site by the end of 2012. Important holdings of paintings at Upton House, Dunham Massey, Shugborough, Attingham and Tatton Park are featured alongside properties with smaller collections including Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top and Quarry Bank Mill. The National Trust’s paintings provide an insight into the history and artistic heritage of Northern Ireland, the rural North and the cosmopolitan Midlands from the industrial revolution to the present day.
Moving further afield, Your Paintings welcomes the addition of the Isle of Man to the site. Together, the ten collections illustrate the history of the Island, with paintings documenting stories of agriculture and fishing, once the mainstays of the economy. Also rich with paintings of coastal scenes and seascapes are the paintings catalogued across Plymouth and Torbay. Stanley Spencer’s representation of Plymouth is an intimate exploration of Plymouth Hoe, whilst Stanhope Alexander Forbes’ plein air masterpiece, A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach, at Plymouth City Council: City Museum and Art Gallery illustrates the story of the fishing industry in Cornwall during the 1800s.
Finally, joining Glasgow Museums already on the site, are 1,400 paintings held at 19 new collections from across the rest of Glasgow. On display will be works by George Stubbs, Henry Raeburn, Allan Ramsay and Joshua Reynolds. Notable additions include The Glasgow School of Art, and the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow’s unrivalled collection of the work of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and Rembrandt’s beautifully-preserved The Entombment.
To help the BBC and PCF identify and catalogue what can be seen in each painting, the public is being invited to ‘tag’ the nation’s paintings. Tagging is fun, easy and you don’t need to be an art expert to do it. The results will allow future users of the Your Paintings website to find paintings of subjects that interest them. Your Paintings Tagger is at http://tagger.thepcf.org.uk
Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, said: “We are delighted that the National Portrait Gallery’s 3,000 paintings will be a part of this extraordinary undertaking to catalogue the nation’s collections. We are very proud of the Gallery’s long association with the Public Catalogue Foundation, an organisation which shares our aims, channelled through our own digitisation of 100,000 portraits, to make works of art as accessible as possible to the widest public.”
Oliver Fairclough, Keeper of Art, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said: “Working with the PCF we now have good colour photography of all the oil paintings owned by Amgueddfa Cymru – over 2,000 in total. As part of the Your Paintings website they will reach new audiences around the world. The digitisation of Amgueddfa Cymru’s paintings, and those of the National Library of Wales and of Welsh regional museums is also transforming our understanding of the visual arts in Wales over the last four centuries, and is a hugely exciting development.”
Dr Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean, said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting new website which will increase public access to our collection of European art. A team at the Ashmolean has collaborated with the PCF in editing entries for over 1500 oil paintings which will go online. From highlights such as Paolo Uccello’s Hunt in the Forest and paintings from the Pissarro Family Archive, Your Paintings will also include works that are not currently on display. This is a remarkable resource that will enable online visitors to search and cross-reference the Ashmolean’s paintings with the rest of the UK’s public collections.”
Dr Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Arts, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the Royal Academy’s collection has gone online on the Your Paintings website. I have immediately found pictures which I wasn’t aware that we owned and hope that it will encourage the collection to be better known and more studied.”
Dominic Wallis, Head of Development, The Society of Antiquaries, said: “The Society is really excited to be involved with the Public Catalogue Foundation. The project will open up our valued collection to the public, and vindicates the Society’s active programme of picture conservation and development; our fellowship and volunteers helping preserve some of the rarest and most valuable examples of the material culture of our past.”
Alastair Laing, Curator of Pictures & Sculpture, National Trust, said: “In the 25 years that I have been Picture & Sculpture Curator for the National Trust, it has always been my ambition to get images and essential information about all the paintings in the collections in our care in the public domain. This the Public Catalogue Foundation is – wonderfully – now doing.”
Sarah Staniforth, Museums and Collections Director, National Trust, said: “The National Trust has the largest collection of oil paintings of a single institution in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in its care and on permanent public display. This will be the first time our paintings from our historic house collections will all be seen in glorious colour and worldwide, thanks to the Public Catalogue Foundation's photography campaign and the BBC.”
Pamela Robertson, Senior Curator and Professor of Mackintosh Studies, The Hunterian, said: “The PCF Glasgow launch is a major achievement. It will put on-line for the first time and for free, a fully-illustrated catalogue of the University of Glasgow’s outstanding painting collection and enable this to be linked to holdings across the UK. The site will be a real delight for lovers of art across the globe.”
Nicola Moyle, City Curator, Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery, said: “This is the first time in the 100 year history of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery that the full extent of our near 1000 oil paintings will be visible in one place. With our limited space and resources, the drive of the PCF and BBC to deliver such an ambitious project has pushed us on to make our publicly owned collections accessible for all.”
Kirsty Neate, Curatorial Services Officer, Manx National Heritage, said: “Working with the PCF has been a great way to increase public access to – and public awareness of – the paintings which we hold on behalf of the Manx people; it is also a good illustration of the way that the internet can be used to bring our collections to a wider audience.”
Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate, said: “The Your Paintings website is an important undertaking that will reveal the depth and breadth of the nation's collections of paintings, many of them published online for the first time. Through ambitious collaboration between organisations across the UK this bold project complements our ambition to connect audiences with art in an immediate way online, something we will take for granted in the future.”
Andrew Ellis, Director, the Public Catalogue Foundation, said: “No country has ever embarked on such a monumental project to showcase its entire painting collection online. Working with collections and individuals all over the UK, this project will reveal to the world the UK’s extraordinary holding of oil paintings.”
Saul Nassé, Controller of Learning, BBC, said: “Your Paintings is a beautiful thing. Our partnership with the PCF has meant hidden treasures from across the UK are now on show, 24 hours a day, for us all to appreciate and learn from. It’s a perfect example of how the BBC, as a public service broadcaster, can come together with a cultural partner like the PCF to create something unique that enriches the public realm.”