Research on 1,000 paintings makes hundreds of new discoveries

June 7, 2013 , University of Glasgow

New research and detailed records of over 1,000 paintings have gone online as part of an ongoing project to research over 22,000 artworks held in public collections around the UK.

The National Inventory of Continental European Paintings (NICE Paintings) project is cataloguing and digitising all of the pre-1900 Continental European oil paintings in the UK's public collections and making them available to the public, alongside new supporting information.

The project is uncovering new information about many important works including most recently, reattributing important works by Tintoretto, Henry Fuseli, Francois Boucher and Frans Snyders among others (more information available on request).

The NICE Paintings project is part of the National Inventory Research Project (NIRP), which is based at the University of Glasgow. It aims to boost public interest in the UK's art collections and support researchers and curators in museums and other public collections in the UK.

All paintings and supporting information have been made available online for free educational use in collaboration with VADS at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA). The information is also being made available through the BBC's website Your Paintings.

In recent years the project has re-attributed or re-identified over 200 of the paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum including, most notably, a previously unidentified work by the great Venetian artist Tintoretto. An exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 'Research on Paintings: Technical Art History and Connoisseurship' (running until 22 September 2013), highlights 10 of the most interesting discoveries.

This latest phase of the project has worked on over 940 paintings from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Apsley House, and the Royal Academy of Art, London. It also includes a further 210 records and images resulting from work at the Barber Institute, University of Birmingham, carried out by the Neil MacGregor Exhibition and Collections Research Scholar, and at the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow.

Andrew Greg, who is the National Inventory Research Project Director, based at the University of Glasgow, said: "Non-British paintings are sometimes a comparatively neglected aspect of a museum's collections and we also recognised that few museums have complete up-to-date catalogues of their picture collections. Researching in the UK's smaller regional collections has previously been the priority and focus of NIRP's activities but we are now working with some of the UK's larger collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Academy to ensure that their collection is updated and made more accessible to the public.

"We are delighted with the progress we are making and I would like to thank all of the museums that have so far worked with us, their cooperation is crucial to the success of this project. We believe that the National Inventory Research Project could be a model for future collaborations between national museums, regional museums and the academic world."

Provided by University of Glasgow