The BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) have teamed up to make all the oil paintings in Britain’s public collections available online. The PCF has already been working for several years to record and produce catalogues of all paintings in public ownership, and the fruits of that work are now also being made accessible through a BBC website called Your Paintings.
The National Trust is collaborating with the PCF to include all its paintings in the survey. The first National Trust picture collection available through Your Paintings is Penrhyn Castle, in Gwynedd (which can be found by searching for ‘National Trust’ on the Your Paintings site).
Shown side by side as thumbnails, the images throw up unexpected insights. Seeing the array of Dutch old master paintings collected by the Douglas-Pennants of Penrhyn, you suddenly understand why they would choose to commission a painting of their own slate quarry (one of the sources of their wealth) in the ‘picturesque’ style of a Ruisdael, a Pynacker or a Van der Neer.