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National collection goes online

23 June 2011

Oil paintings across UK national collections now have a home on a dedicated website,

‘Your Paintings’, which was launched today, offers access to over 60,000 works from over 1,000 galleries, museums, libraries and other public institutions – including all the works from the National Gallery.  By the end of 2012 the website will house every painting in the UK national collection – some 200,000 works.

Oil paintings online

‘Your Paintings’ includes many well-known works, but also rarely seen pieces from less obvious public collections such as council offices, fire stations and universities. Users can discover works across UK public collections, viewing them together in one place for the first time. The website also gives the public the chance to try their own hand at being a curator, tagging works and helping to classify them as they are uploaded to the website over the next 18 months.

Collaboration with PCF

The project is a unique collaboration between the Public Catalogue Foundation and the BBC. The painstaking documentation by the PCF involved a team of 50 regional coordinators and 30 photographers.

The National Gallery initiated the National Inventory Research Project which has contributed its detailed research into over 8000 of these paintings, working with over 200 museums and public collections across the UK.

Nicholas Penny the Director of the National Gallery said:
“Thanks to the initiative of the PCF and the BBC, the concept of a ‘national collection’ has suddenly altered. They have extended, in an exciting way, our understanding of what art in ‘public ownership is, and our access to it.”

Visit ‘Your Paintings’

Watch a BBC film about Your Paintings