Online art project starts work in four major UK galleries

Issued: Thu, 14 Aug 2014 10:23:00 BST

A major research project to increase public knowledge about the UK’s public art collections has received a boost by successfully raising funds to begin work with four of the largest and most significant public galleries in the north of England.

'Misty Morning, Rouen'Thanks to generous grants from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the John Ellerman Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust, the National Inventory Research Project (NIRP) has teamed up with National Museums Liverpool, Manchester Art Gallery, Leeds Museums and Galleries and York Art Gallery. A new 18 month programme will research over 1,000 old master paintings held in the galleries and make them available to the public through an online database.

The unique collaboration between the museum and higher education sectors is being led by experts from the University of Glasgow and is overseen by the Advisory Committee for Research on European Paintings. It will eventually publish all of the 22,000 pre-1900 Continental European oil paintings in the UK’s public collections, creating an enduring public resource.

The online database, called ‘NICE Paintings’, already contains 9,245 records meaning that, upon completion of this latest phase, researchers should be halfway to achieving their goal.

As part of creating the online database, a team of trained art historians from the University of Glasgow will fully research the origin, history and attribution of each of the works. This will help to ensure that the UK’s public art collections are now understood better than ever before as a direct result of this project.

Andrew Greg, Director of NIRP and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow, said: “We’re very excited to start the next stage of the National Inventory Research Project with four of the largest and most significant public collections in the north of England.

“This project helps museums to research and catalogue their collections and provides the public with greater access to them whilst also encouraging future interest in the works themselves.”

The vacancies are on under History of Art and on the University vacancies page refs 009110, 009112, 009118, closing date 1 Sept.

Media enquiries: / 01413307126

Notes for editors:

The National Inventory Research Project (NIRP) was created in 2001 by the National Gallery, London, and a group of regional curators to help museums research their painting collections and to disseminate information about these collections.

  • NICE Paintings’ receives 35,000 visits a month on VADS. Links to the richer NIRP data on ‘NICE Paintings’ have been added to the BBC/PCF website ‘Your Paintings’ (‎ which records all 220,000 oil paintings in public ownership in the UK and which receives over 300,000 visits a month.
  • There will be a series of regional seminars held during the life of the project, firstly to develop staff skills in researching, understanding and interpreting and old master paintings, and secondly to promote the research outcomes of the project and the benefits of museum/academia relationships.

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