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National Inventory Research Project

The National Inventory Research Project is involved in researching and documenting pre-1900 European paintings in UK public collections. It aims to:

  • Add new research to museum holdings of pre-1900 European paintings
  • Make up-to-date information about these collections more readily available

The NICE paintings database gives access to newly researched information on over 9,000 pictures in public collections throughout the UK. 

Project partners and funding

The NICE paintings database is the outcome of the work of a committee of museum curators representing national and local museums across the UK and led by the National Gallery. The project is a partnership between the History of Art departments at Birkbeck, University of London and the University of Glasgow and the National Gallery.

Initial funding for the project was provided by the National Gallery. Substantial grants have been received from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Getty Foundation and the Kress Foundation. Additional research has been carried out through the Neil MacGregor Scholarships and by Pilgrim Trust research grants.

Read a full list of research project committee members

The Public Catalogue Foundation

The National Inventory Research Project is also working closely with the Public Catalogue Foundation who publish illustrated regional catalogues of every oil painting in public ownership in the UK.

For more information visit the Art UK website.

'Discoveries' exhibition

The National Inventory Research project was celebrated in the National Gallery’s exhibition Discoveries. This exhibition brought together a selection of paintings with some of the stories the project uncovered about them.