In another example of the wonders of the information age, the UK’s national collection of 212,000 oil paintings is now online at ‘Your Paintings’ – a joint initiative between the Public Catalogue Foundation http://www.thepcf.org.uk/ and the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/. The ‘Your Paintings’ website can be searched by artist, subject, style etc.
Whilst there is no substitute for seeing the real thing it is still wonderful to be able to view high quality photographs of the national collection without having to travel the length and breadth of the country to do so. In any case at any one time 80% of the national collection is not on view.
My father, John Miller RSA PPRSW (1911 – 1975) was a Scottish artist who studied at the Glasgow School of Art and taught there from 1944 – 1974. He was influenced by French impressionism and known for his still life and landscape paintings. I knew several of his works are in public collections but not how many, which paintings or where they are. Through ‘Your Paintings’ I discovered that there are fourteen of his paintings in public collections – some of which I had never seen.
Another of his paintings, which I can’t remember but would love to see, was an oil portrait of me as a child which was sold at exhibition to a private collector. Perhaps private collections will be added to ‘Your Paintings’ or something similar will be set up in due course for privately held paintings which will allow it to re-emerge after all these years.