Help UCL Art museum in national BBC campaign

14 February 2013

Portrait of a Man - Unknown artist

UCL Art Museum has been chosen by the BBC to help spearhead their project to highlight the UK’s collection of oil paintings and the stories behind them.

Part of a joint online initiative between the BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation, Your Paintings aims to make use of crowd-sourcing in order to get the public to help describe and categorise the thousands of painting contained within the collection.

At the moment, the database only contains basic information for each of the 212,000 paintings. But by encouraging the public via crowd-sourcing to tag the paintings with additional information, it will enable Your Paintings to be searched by the public in a more sophisticated and helpful manner. 

With 755 paintings from UCL Art Museum included in the collection, it gives the public an opportunity to see, and document, many pictures that normally can’t be displayed. The museum also hopes that this might help solve mysteries in its collection such as orphaned works or unknown sitters who remain to be identified.

“Instead of being tucked away in stores, what this project allows is for works that are hard to display due to conservation and cost issues to be visible and accessible to the public,” said Dr Nina Pearlman, manager of the UCL Art Museum.

Instead of being tucked away in stores, what this project allows is for works that are hard to display due to conservation and cost issues to be visible and accessible to the public

Dr Nina Pearlman

Containing over 10,000 objects including paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture dating from 1490 to the present day, UCL Art Museum's collections are housed in a traditional print room setting at UCL, with paintings and sculptures also displayed in public rooms around the university. 

Founded in 1847 with a gift of the sculpture models and drawings of the Neo-classical artist John Flaxman, the collection also holds the prize-winning student works from the Slade School of Fine Art dating from 1890 to the present day.

“What’s special about the UCL collection is not only do we have a large proportion of works by women due to the Slade’s pioneering role in that area, but the Prize-winning collection means that we also have early works from students who later became household names,” said Dr Pearlman. “As a result, very early on these pieces were part of the collection in the context in which they were made.”

The prize collection contains work by many important 20th-century British artists who studied at the Slade including Stanley Spencer, Augustus John, Edward Wadsworth and Paula Rego. These prize-winning student works were augmented by gifts of work by Slade staff and students including Henry Tonks and David Bomberg. 

For more information about Your Paintings, and to view pieces from UCL Art Museum, click here.  

Image: Portrait of a Man (Unknown Artist)


Links:

UCL Art museum
BBC Your Paintings
Your Paintings tagger