Mission accomplished

December 13 2012

Image of Mission accomplished

Picture: BBC Your Paintings/PCF

Large round of applause please for everyone at the Public Catalogue Foundation and BBC Your Paintings - as of today, every one of the UK's 210,000 publicly owned oil paintings is online. This is a quite astonishing achievement, and all privately and charitably funded (tho' special mention to the Scottish Government for providing support where the UK government would not).

In my office here I have on the shelf a copy of Christopher Wright's 'British and Irish Paintings in Public Collections', an un-illustrated checklist published in 2006 by Yale containing details of some 90,000 works. It's an occasionally useful volume, as it lists the literature pictures have appeared in. But thanks to Your Paintings it is now largely redundant. In 2006 it was heralded as a transformational book. How quickly our expectations have moved in the past six years.

The PCF is still fundraising for the last batch of photography and digitisation. If you can make a dent in their £100,000 target, please do.

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