The entirety of the UK’s publicly (and some privately) owned oil paintings are now online. The Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) has partnered with the BBC to create the highly ambitious Your Paintings site, which has digitized and catalogued 212,000 oil paintings owned by museums, galleries, universities and other institutions across the UK.
This project began mindful with the fact that at any given time 80% of the paintings in the national collection are not on public display, and many had not been digitized or even photographed before. Your Paintings categorizes works by collection, so it is easy to find where a painting lives and whether it is on display to view. Many interesting and surprising works have been unearthed during the research for this project, including a nude of Sean Connery painted in the 1950′s.
The site includes typical social media features such as creating a personal gallery from the collection and a call for tagging to gather as much historical information as possible to present to the public. There are also guided tours of several of the collections. Your Paintings is a beautifully usable portal to the history of art in the UK.