All Publicly Owned Paintings in Britain Now Online

Eldred Evans: Who Knew?

The BBC’s Your Paintings, a website aimed at showing the entire UK national collection of oil paintings online, is just about complete. After ten years of work in the storerooms of thousands of museums and other public institutions around the country, 210,000 paintings have been photographed, and 172,000 are now online. The full catalog is due in December.

I’m not sure what quirk of British copyright law allows this, or what quirk of vast government investment in art, but it’s a great idea- the site estimates that at any given time, 80% of the works in British public collections are not on display, effectively unavailable to anyone but researchers and museum staff.

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