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Monday, 4 July 2011

View Calderdale paintings online

Calderdale is officially home to what the council describes as some of the finest oil painting collections in the country with paintings dating from the 17th to 21st century.

Following the successful inclusion of five paintings from Calderdale Museums that were included in the top 100 oil paintings; 'Yorkshires Favourite Paintings', Calderdale now boasts 463 oil paintings on the BBC and Public Catalogue Foundation's website 'Your Paintings'.

John Holland

Hebden Bridge from Palace House, Fairfield
by John Holland in 1869

The Yorkshires Favourite Paintings project was triggered by the ongoing nationwide campaign by the Public Catalogue Foundation which is photographing and recording all oil, acrylic and tempera paintings in publicly owned collections in the UK.

It is estimated that there are some 200,000 such paintings in the UK, with more than 10,000 in Yorkshire, but at any one time, some 80% of these are hidden from public view, either in storerooms or public buildings in official use. The first phase of 'Your Paintings' features online selections made by well known artists, historians and celebrities who are encouraging the public to take part in the development of this monumental project, tagging works, and helping to classify paintings as they are uploaded to the site over the next 18 months towards completion by the end of 2012.

The paintings are drawn from the public collections in every part of the country, big and small, from the most famous to the completely unknown. They include the UK's national museums and galleries, regional collections, the National Trust, as well as the less obvious public collection like those in universities, council buildings, hospitals and fire stations.

Out of the 63,000 oil paintings currently on show on the 'Your Paintings' site some of the paintings from Calderdale include; Roger Elliot Fry's 'Poppies', Peter Brook's 'On the way to Wuthering Heights with the sun in my eyes', Marcus Stone's 'Silent Pleading', Joshua Horner's 'Anne Lister' and William Beechey's 'Sarah Curran Playing the Harp'. The paintings can also available to view at YorkshiresFavourites.

Lynn Grady, Visitor Services Manager at Halifax Visitor Centre said: "We are delighted to be part of this project which gives everyone the chance to view in one place a selection of the fantastic collection of oil paintings we have in the region. Anyone in the world can now go online and see the paintings and the stories behind the pictures, with the ability to zoom in and see the incredible detail and techniques used by the artists including those at some of our galleries from Roger Eliot Fry's (1866-1934) Poppies painted in 1917, to William Beechey's (1753-1839) Sarah Curran playing the harp painted in 1805. "We also hope that seeing the paintings online will encourage people, including new audiences, to come visit us and get the full experience of seeing these stunning pieces up close."

Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities, Councillor Pauline Nash said; "Thanks to the initiative of the PCF and the BBC, the concept of a 'national collection' has suddenly altered. They have extended, in an exciting way, our understanding of what art in 'public ownership' is, and our access to it".

Councillor Nash continued; "The PCF's outstanding project will enable Calderdale museums and art galleries to raise their public profile by providing unlimited access to these collections through a single website. This wonderful project not only raises the cultural profile of institutions such as Shibden Hall, Bankfield Museum, Halifax Visitor Centre, Heptonstall Museum and the Smith Art Gallery, it also gives the collections ? completely for free - a set of high quality photographs of their paintings.

By providing knowledge of art collections throughout Calderdale the PCF project allows the public to discover the richness, diversity and joy of works in public ownership and encourages cultural tourism in a way not previously available".

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