Oil paintings from Aberdeen go online for the first time

Oil paintings from Aberdeen go online for the first time

The University of Aberdeen’s extensive collection of oil paintings has been added to a website which allows the public to enjoy the nation’s art treasures from their own homes.

All oil paintings in Aberdeen have been added to the Your Paintings website, a joint initiative between the BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) which aims to create a complete catalogue of every oil painting in public collections.

There are an estimated 200,000 oil paintings in the UK's national collection and the Your Paintings project plans to upload all of them to the website by the end of 2012.

The website is emerging as a unique learning resource, showing not only photographs and information about each painting but also selected BBC TV archive footage and links to further information. The website was launched at the National Gallery in the summer of 2011 and currently shows around 104,000 paintings from 1,400 collections.

The University collection was uploaded to the site together with those from Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums and Robert Gordon University, and smaller collections from The Gordon Highlanders Museum and Aberdeen Grammar School.

Oil paintings from the University include an important group of some of the earliest Scottish paintings that derive from the early years of both King’s College and Marischal College, including a portrait of Bishop Elphinstone c1500, five large canvases painted for the visit of Charles II to Scotland in 1650, paintings by George Jamesone and Cosmo Alexander and a view of King’s College painted c1640. There are also portraits from the 18th and 19th centuries by artists such as Joshua Reynolds and George Reid, while works by the Scottish Colourists, including JD Fergusson and Samuel Peploe, and other modern Scottish artists such as Stanley Cursiter, Robin Philipson, Toby Paterson, Victoria Crowe, James Morrison and Callum Innes continue the collection to the present day.

Neil Curtis, Head of Museums at the University of Aberdeen, said: “We have been delighted to participate in the PCF project. It has helped to highlight the richness of the University collections, improving access for everyone and enhancing our records with high-quality photographs. I am also delighted that discovering links between different collections is now a matter of a single search rather than a major research project.”

Andrew Ellis, Director, the Public Catalogue Foundation, said: “No country has ever embarked on such a monumental project to showcase its entire painting collection online. Working with collections and individuals all over the UK, this project will reveal to the world the UK’s extraordinary holding of oil paintings.”

The online catalogue can be viewed at www.bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings and the University’s paintings on the site can be seen here.