Public Catalogue Foundation: the UK's hidden artwork online
A ten-year project to uncover the nation’s hidden paintings has drawn to a close.
The Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF), who has been photographing and putting online thousands of oil paintings owned by the British public, took their final pictures today: photographs of 54 paintings held by the National Football Museum in Manchester (Football Game (1839) by Thomas Webster pictured).
The PCF photographic archive, some of which featured in the Big Issue magazine in May (Issue 886), has been painstakingly uncovered from museums, galleries, hospitals, council buildings and basements from around the country.
Eighty per cent of the works have been completely or temporarily hidden from public gaze. They have been in storage, undergoing repair, or tucked away in buildings without public access.
Around 2,800 collections across the United Kingdom have participated in the project. Already 172,000 paintings are online with the full 210,000 paintings expected to be online by the middle of December. The paintings are the work of 45,000 artists.
One painting, by Rolf Harris and detailed in the Big Issue, was found in a cupboard in a closed mental health ward in Barnsley Hospital. Until the painting was revealed online, Harris had no idea where the picture had ended up.
“This was one of a series of fairly large, big brush paintings that I did during a concert tour of Australia in the 1980s," said Harris. "The paintings were raffled or auctioned at the end of each concert.”
Andrew Ellis, Director of the Public Catalogue Foundation, said: “No country has ever embarked on such a monumental project to showcase its entire painting collection online. Working with collections all over the UK, this project will reveal to the world the UK’s extraordinary holding of oil paintings.”
To access the Your Paintings website visit www.bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings