Crowd-sourcing the national art collection

April 20 2012

Image of Crowd-sourcing the national art collection

Pictures: Your Paintings/PCF/BBC

I've had some excellent responses in the quest to find lost paintings on the new Public Catalogue Foundation website, Your Paintings. Thanks to all of you for writing in.

The title of Chief Sleuth this week goes to the director of the Avoncroft Museum, Simon Carter, who has identified the following impressive list of previously unnamed portraits: Archbishop Laud in the collection of Hampshire Country Council (after Van Dyck); Robert Burns at the Atkinson Art Gallery (after Nasymth); Anthony Van Dyck at the Worthington Art Gallery (my hero, above, hooray!); and Charles James Fox at the Haslemere Education Museum (after John Raphael Smith). Simon used to be a curator at the Palace of Westminster, so knows his portrait onions.

Meanwhile, my colleague Lawrence Hendra spotted the below portrait of Samuel Johnson, called 'Old Man at a Desk'. We don't know the artist yet, but it relates to this engraving, and appears to be a good example of a 19th Century genre picture. 

And finally, I can add this not particularly distinguished portrait of Sir Walter Ralegh at Maidstone Museum, which is taken from this engraving. Now it may be that none of the portraits we've uncovered so far this week are great works of art. But, along with the others we've discovered so far, it shows the immense value of having collections online with decent sized photos. Who knows what else we'll find?

Update - a reader writes:

I think the Johnson portrait may be by Edward M Ward; he did a similar one of Johnson and Chesterfield.


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