Over Half the Nation’s Collection of Paintings Now Online
LONDON, December 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –
The Public Helping to Catalogue the Art
Your Paintings is the first national online museum of all publicly owned oil paintings
in the UK. It was launched in June of this year (2011) by the Public Catalogue Foundation
(PCF) and the BBC. Today it has been announced that a further 40,000 paintings have been
uploaded to the site since the launch, taking the total to 104,000 paintings, over half
the national collection.
Among the latest painting images uploaded to the site are works by Thomas Brooks (RNLI
Grace Darling Museum, Northumberland), Edgar Degas (The Barber Institute of Fine Arts,
Birmingham), Joshua Reynolds (The University of Aberdeen), Bridget Riley (Morley College,
London), Peter Paul Rubens (National Trust, Saltram, Devon) and Henry Whiting’s Man
Wrestling an Alligator from Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre, a world-class collection
of British fairground art from the 1880s to the 1980s. In total the works of over 23,000
artists can now be seen on the site.
Your Paintings is the world’s most ambitious initiative to bring an entire nation’s
painting collection to the public online. The UK’s collection is an estimated 200,000 oil
paintings, held in 3,000 galleries, museums, libraries and public institutions, making it
one of the largest and most diverse collections in the world.
Your Paintings is interactive and fully searchable by artist, collection and location,
and is enriched with links to the BBC’s formidable archive of TV, radio and online
resources. It provides links to the collections themselves and encourages users to visit
the paintings in person.
To make the site searchable by subject matter over 5,000 members of the public have
already signed up as taggers, alongside curators and experts, participating in the
enormous task of cataloguing the collection online. These Taggers have already entered
over 1.3m tags into the system. Tagging, using the latest crowd-sourcing techniques, is
revealing a fascinating new layer of rich, and ultimately shareable, data, that will allow
searches for a huge range of subject matter across the website.
Your Paintings has recently been recognised at the 2011 British Interactive Media
Awards (BIMA), winning first prize in the Arts and Culture category.
Your Paintings reached on average 125,000 unique monthly browsers, in the first three
months after launch. (91,000 unique monthly browsers in the UK).
Mark Thompson, Director General, BBC, said “I am delighted that Your Paintings has
reached this impressive milestone. The website that we have created in partnership with
the Public Catalogue Foundation is an important commitment to the cultural sector and a
significant example of how the BBC can help in the creation of a digital public space.”
Andrew Ellis, Director, the Public Catalogue Foundation, said “Your Paintings is a
worldwide showcase of the United Kingdom’s paintings. The public are invited to play an
important role in building and enhancing this website. By tagging what can be seen in each
work, everyone can contribute to making Your Paintings a unique and rich learning
bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings [http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings ]
Notes to Editors
About Your Paintings
Your Paintings is a partnership project between the BBC and the Public Catalogue
Foundation (PCF) to put the United Kingdom’s entire collection of oil paintings online at
http://www.bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings. This website is emerging as a unique learning
resource, showing not only photographs and information about each painting but also
selected BBC TV archive footage and links to further information. The website was launched
at the National Gallery in the summer of 2011. Currently, the site shows around 104,000
paintings from 1,400 collections.
In total , the national oil painting collection amounts to some 200,000 works, held in
3,000 galleries, museums, universities, hospitals and other public institutions from
across the UK, making it one of the largest and most diverse collections of paintings in
the world. The plan is for all these paintings to be online by the end of 2012.
With the help of crowd-sourcing technology pioneered by the Astrophysics Department at
the University of Oxford to classify galaxies, and art historical input from the
University of Glasgow, the public are being invited to go online and help classify or
‘tag’ the paintings catalogued by the PCF so that in due course the paintings can be
searchable by subject matter. Paintings can be tagged by visiting
About the Public Catalogue Foundation
The PCF is a registered charity. It was launched in 2003 to create a photographic
record of all the oil paintings in public ownership in the United Kingdom. In addition to
publishing its work online, the PCF is also publishing a series of printed catalogues.
The painstaking research to locate the paintings up and down the country and collate
the data has been carried out by 50 researchers. Over 30 fine art photographers have been
employed to take photographs of these paintings over the life of the project. London-based
staff focus on fundraising, processing and editing the data that comes in from the field,
and clearing copyright.
The PCF is funded principally by grants and donations. Under 20 per cent of its
funding comes from the public sector. Whilst many hundreds of individuals and institutions
have supported its work, the PCF’s principal funders are Arts Council England, Christie’s,
the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the J Paul Getty Jnr
Charitable Trust, The Monument Trust, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Wolfson
The PCF was founded by Dr Fred Hohler. Its Trustees are Charles Gregson (Chairman of
the PCF), Robert Hiscox (Chairman of Hiscox plc), Menna McGregor (Clerk of the Mercers’
company), Alex Morrison (Founder and Managing Director of Cogapp), Richard Roundell
(Vice-Chairman of Christie’s UK), Marc Sands (Director of Audiences and Media at Tate), Dr
Charles Saumarez Smith (Chief Executive of the Royal Academy), Graham Southern ( Founding
Director of Blain Southern) and the artist Alison Watt. The Director is Andrew Ellis.
For more information go to http://www.thepcf.org.uk
About BBC Online
BBC Online is BBC’s portfolio of websites, available at bbc.co.uk. It comprises ten
Products – News, Sport, Weather, CBBC, CBeebies, Knowledge & Learning, Homepage, Search,
TV & iPlayer and Radio & Music. In April 2011 it had 31.7 million unique browsers and was
the fourth most popular website in the UK. It is the only UK-owned website in the UK top
ten. Your Paintings is part of Knowledge & Learning.
The BBC creates partnerships with the arts sector that go beyond broadcast, from
sharing expertise to widening public engagement in UK arts.
SOURCE The Public Catalogue Foundation