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172,000 Paintings Now Online!

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Alice Payne | 10:04 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2012

We have now catalogued over 170,000 of the UK’s national collection of oil paintings! We welcome some large and well known collections to the site, including Tate, the National Maritime Museum and the British Council Collection.

View from a Ship at Sea (John Everett, Collection: National Maritime Museum)

Whilst sailing through the National Maritime Museum, one artist who captured our imagination was John Everett. There are over 1,000 of his works now online. If you aren’t susceptible to sea sickness, take a voyage through his deck scenes and seascapes, experiencing what it would have been like aboard one of his vessels.

Easily accessible by boat are the Tate galleries – Tate Britain and Tate Modern on the banks of the River Thames, Tate Liverpool next to docks and Tate St Ives on the seafront. Previously displaying a sample of their oils, Your Paintings is now thrilled to reveal all paintings for your pleasure.

We have now completed cataloguing Wales – a startling number of collections with an incredibly high calibre of works. Notable highlights include MOMA WALES, who hold works by renowned artists Kyffin Williams, Augustus Edwin John and Edward Povey. And although we are specifically looking at paintings, some architecture that should not be missed is Castell Coch in South Wales – an incredibly beautiful building that looks like something out of a fairytale. Do have a look at its location page and discover its important portraits of the Marquesses and Earls of Bute and Pembroke.

Moving across the sea and into Northern Ireland, we find Armagh Public Library which has ‘Archbishop Richard Robinson (1708–1794)’ a work stimulating attribution debate: Joshua Reynolds or Angelica Kauffmann? One of the most famous Irish painters is John Lavery and some of his works can be seen in Northern Ireland at the Down County Museum, Queen's University, Belfast, and in Belfast City Hall.A Moorish Garden in Winter’ in Queen’s University, Belfast, has particular significance to Lavery – he had a winter home in Tangier and regularly visited Morocco.

The British Council Collection holds works by many prominent British Artists who continue to exhibit today, and also by artists such as the late Lucian Freud, including the particularly moving, ‘Girl with Roses’, showing Kitty, the daughter of Jacob Epstein. Frank Auerbach’s work is also held in this collection; ‘Camden Theatre’ is almost three-dimensional with the brushstrokes of the thick oil paint clearly visible.

The L. S. Lowry Collection has also joined our growing online catalogue – see if you can spot the puzzling self portrait and take a look at the way Lowry painted industrial scenes in both the south and the north of the country.

Sir Thomas More and his family (Rowland Lockey, Collection: National Trust )

We have added more collections from the National Trust, including Nostell Priory in West Yorkshire that has a painting of particular note: it is that of Sir Thomas More and his family, painted by Rowland Lockey in 1592. This painting is after an original by Hans Holbein the Younger, itself lost, making this the only reliable same-size representation of the original.

Within Northern Scotland is a gem of a collection: the Pier Arts Centre. Ben Nicholson’s work is well represented here, including many of his relief works. Browse the collection  to see a few more famous names.

The National Army Museum is a fantastic collection in London, which holds a large collection of war-in-action paintings, with many representing scenes of great struggle and victory. We particularly like the dummy board figure of a Grenadier of the Royal Scots Regiment. There are also two works by Thomas Gainsborough, ‘HRH William Henry, 1st Duke of Gloucester (1743–1805)’ and ‘Robert, Lord Clive (1725–1774), in General Officer’s Uniform’.

A Good Joke (J. Gough, Collection: Royal Hospital Chelsea)

And finally, don’t forget to have a look at those lesser known artists which, as proved by the mysterious J. Gough’s ‘A Good Joke’ in the Royal Hospital Chelsea, may well bring a smile to your day.

Alice Payne is a Project Editor at the PCF


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Are there copyright restrictions on any or all of these pictures? For instance, if I were to upload a picture from the BBC collection onto a not-for-profit website, would there be a problem?

  • Comment number 3.

    Please could I ask the same question as John Divall. John is the webmaster for Waterloo200 and we need to assimilate and collect related images for the national promotion of the bicentenary of the Battle Of Waterloo. This has great education potential for the commemorations.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hey John and Michael,

    Thank you for your interest in Your Paintings. A lot of questions like this tend to be addressed on the 'About Your Paintings' page ( so that's usually the best place to start if you do have any queries.

    In terms of your specific questions, to quote from the answer to 'What can I do with the images on the Your Paintings site?' -

    "The BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation are committed to respecting the intellectual property rights of others. All images are covered by the BBC's standard terms and conditions.

    Each image is also protected with a secure invisible digital watermark that allows the Public Catalogue Foundation and other copyright owners to identify and track any unauthorised use of the image.

    The Public Catalogue Foundation is responsible for seeking permission to show works on the Your Paintings website from the museums and other collections that own the paintings, as well as from the artists and estates where the underlying works are still in copyright. Any queries regarding permissions should be addressed to the PCF. Please see the Public Catalogue Foundation's website for more information."

    I hope that helps. If you have any further questions please feel free to get in touch via the 'Feedback' page ( or email us directly using

  • Comment number 5.

    What a superb site.

    I'd love a "Random Paintings" button that would show a random selection of paintings on the "Paintings" page

    There is so much to see I don't know where to start but will keep visiting to sample different artists and paintings.


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