We were very excited when the PCF told us that they were coming to our area as we had seen the wonderful catalogues that they produce. Their mission is to photograph and catalogue every painting that is held in publicly owned collections across the United Kingdom. Amazingly it is estimated that there are over 200,000 paintings held in public institutions but only 1in 5 are on display. Based on our collection this is understandable, as while we would love to display all of the collection all of the time many works need conservation before they can be displayed. There is also the problem of having enough space and enough people to hang them. The opportunity to make these works of art available in a beautiful publication was too good to miss.
It was a particularly snowy January when we began photographing the oil painting collection with the PCF. We had around 2000 paintings to photograph and so we were shivering away in the off-site picture store three days a week for about three months. One day we managed to photograph over 100 works - a PCF record!
While it was a very time consuming project, it was hugely satisfying. We now have images of every one of our oil paintings, they are all catalogued on our database and we have a fantastic book featuring beautiful images of our collection. However, the most satisfying aspect of this project is that anyone anywhere can access the works of art that ultimately belong to them.
The catalogue is available to purchase in our online shop here, or in person at the Millennium Gallery, Graves Gallery and Weston Park museum. Proceeds from the sale of the catalogue will go towards helping Museums Sheffield care for and conserve our collections for future generations to enjoy.
Liz Waring, Curator of Visual Art
Aug 07 2012