Quantcast
Latest Stories

Online museum showcases Britain’s hidden art



LONDON — Britain has some of the best galleries in the world, but the vast majority of the oil paintings in public ownership have for decades been hidden away in private offices or storage. Until now.

By the end of the year, 210,000 paintings will have been dusted off and photographed for inclusion in a ground-breaking online museum, accessible to members of the public at just a click of a button.

“The UK has a very large collection of oil paintings in public ownership and about 80 percent are not on view,” said Andy Ellis, the director of the Public Catalogue Foundation which has organised the project with the BBC.

In one of the most ambitious art projects in the world, curators have spent ten years tracking down publicly-owned paintings by 45,000 artists from every corner of Britain, from the Shetlands to the Channel Islands.

Some have been in storage and others hung in buildings where there is no access to members of the public, but they are finally seeing the light of day on a dedicated website, “Your Paintings”.

Museums have helped out where they could but the catalogue required some detective work as about 100 researchers tracked down paintings in universities, police and fire stations, libraries and hospitals.

The hunt took them to a zoo, a lighthouse and to art colleges that held some early works by their famous alumni, including David Hockney.

There were other nice surprises.

A London hospital had a Veronese, a huge triptych by William Hogarth adorned a wall of the town hall in Bristol, surrounded by computers and photocopiers, while a Whistler was found in a Cold War bunker.

Unlike the Google Art Project, an online initiative cataloguing works of art from museums across the world, the British website only includes paintings in oil, acrylic and egg tempera.

This is partly because the curators decided that including watercolours and drawings would have busted its £6-million ($9.5-million) budget, largely funded by private donations.

But within these techniques, anything and everything is welcome. The work of thousands of obscure painters, such as a fireman who dabbled during the Blitz, is pictured alongside masterpieces by Rembrandt and Raphael.

Ten percent of the paintings remain unattributed, but the curators hope members of the public may be able to help identify their artists, as well as their often mysterious subjects.

“The project is democratic. We include all the works, irrespective of the quality, the condition of the work,” said Ellis.

“The point of this project is to allow everyone to see all the works in the collection and then make the decision themselves about what they like and what they don’t like.”

He added: “We don’t think there is any equivalent anywhere in the world.”

Ellis, a former financier who was drawn into the project through his passion for art, is already looking at how to expand the museum to include sculptures.

“It’s the ultimate realization of Andre Malraux’s dream of a museum without walls,” commented Charles Saumarez Smith, chief executive of the Royal Academy, referring to the post-World War II French writer’s vision of how photography would democratize art.


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter




Recent Stories:

DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus 40 mins elapsed EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’ 41 mins elapsed Suspected militant, son killed in Thailand’s south 1 hour elapsed Iran mother spares life of son’s killer after campaign 1 hour elapsed Japan to hunt fewer whales in Pacific this season 1 hour elapsed Deal brings no immediate change to eastern Ukraine 1 hour elapsed China says one-fifth of its farmland is polluted 1 hour elapsed Pakistani madrassa names library after Bin Laden 1 hour elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Art , Britain , Internet , Lifestyle , Online museum , technology



Copyright © 2014,
.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement
  1. Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  2. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  3. Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  4. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  5. Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  6. Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  7. Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  8. Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  9. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  10. DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  1. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  2. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  3. Nude and so dangerous
  4. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  5. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  6. Netizens react to Pacquiao’s victory over Bradley
  7. IT technician found guilty of defrauding firm of P130,000
  8. Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  9. Samsung flagship smartphone goes on sale worldwide
  10. Heartbleed bug and what you need to know
  1. #RejectedBbPilipinas2014Questions flood Twitter
  2. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  3. Netizens fall in love with Crimea prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya
  4. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  5. Nude and so dangerous
  6. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  7. Why didn’t missing jet passengers use their cellphones?
  8. Russia tries to curb Crimean prosecutor’s Internet fame
  9. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  10. Netizens thank Capa for Lee arrest

News

  • Suspected militant, son killed in Thailand’s south
  • Iran mother spares life of son’s killer after campaign
  • Japan to hunt fewer whales in Pacific this season
  • Deal brings no immediate change to eastern Ukraine
  • China says one-fifth of its farmland is polluted
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Advertisement
    Marketplace