Your Paintings (or rather, ‘their paintings’) is a collaborative project between the BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation that aspires to digitize and tag every oil painting in the UK National Collections. Currently still in a beta stage, the project anticipates digitizing a total of 200,000 paintings of which it has completed 77,000.
Your Paintings seeks out only those paintings which belong to the National Collection and, for the most part, the site features pieces owned by state and local authorities, Bishop’s palaces, and Oxford and Cambridge colleges. The project has also chosen to restrict its initial digitization efforts to oil, tempera, and acrylic and excludes other paint media like watercolors in order to keep the project at a manageable scale.
In addition to the digitization initiative, Your Paintings also has a crowd-sourced tagging project to increase the ‘findability’ of each image within the site. Users are invited to participate by tagging randomly selected images using four different controlled vocabularies (things, people, places and events). The biographical and historical information included in each record comes from the participating and owning institutions.
The site makes smart use of slideshows, thumbnails, transitions, drop-down text and multi-media features like hyperlinks, social-media, videos and maps in order to create a site that looks elegant and communicates a great deal of information without being busy or text-heavy. The images are high quality and can be viewed in a pop-out larger format view.