Today the Public Catalogue Foundation and the BBC completed their hugely ambitious project to put online the United Kingdom’s entire collection of oil paintings in public ownership. 3,217 venues across the UK have participated in the project and 211,861 paintings are now on the Your Paintings website. Among these are nearly 100 artworks from the Bethlem Collection, which have been newly professionally photographed and made available alongside the details of each work. Although this is just a tenth of our collection, it includes every work we own in oil, acrylic or tempura, and can be explored through the Your Paintings site here.
While some of these works can be seen by visitors to the Museum, others are in store, and the Your Paintings site will make our collection visible to a much wider audience. Paintings include the bright canvases of Elise J. M. Pacquette (née Warriner), which featured in the artist’s degree show, focusing on anorexia nervosa: the size of these striking paintings means that only one is generally on display. Other artist collections include the work of Marion Patrick (whose paintings of isolated children have previously featured in In the Frame), Bryan Charnley and Stanley Lench – subject of a recent exhibition, but not on permanent display.
In February 2013, the BBC plan to lead a nationwide celebration of Your Paintings with many opportunities for the public to discover paintings that have rarely been on view – perhaps also those collections, like our own, that are little known beyond Bethlem. The public is also being invited to ‘tag’ the nation’s paintings. The results will allow future users of the Your Paintings website to find paintings of subjects that interest them, such as mental health.
Bryan Charnley – Broach Schizophrene (1987)