"The 3,000 paintings from National Museums Liverpool"

Art The latest update to the BBC's Your Paintings online art collection brings news of the addition of three thousand works from National Museums Liverpool. As their blog explains:
"The 3,000 paintings from National Museums Liverpool are located across seven Merseyside museum sites, including the Lady Lever Art Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery and The Museum of Liverpool.

The Merseyside collections include works by Rembrandt and Rubens, along with later pieces by artists including C├ęzanne, Degas, Lucian Freud and Monet."
The Sacramento Bee has a much longer press release with greater detail about the project and some of the works which have been added, including Holman Hunt's The Scapegoat, whose vivid pastels are presented in epic detail at Art Daily's version of the story.

When I was working a documentation assistant at the Walker at the turn of the millennium cataloguing/databasing the collection, this kind of digitisation project was always mentioned as a long term aspiration and would even appear in my action plan for the following six months or year during appraisals.

Inevitably technology was the main obstacle.  There simply wasn't the ability to photograph or scan and then store the images in any great detail and even the high end equipment we had at the time is dwarfed in ability by the average smart phone.  Certainly the office scanner which we initially experimented with wasn't up to the task.

I hope some of the data I entered all those years ago helped a bit.  Certainly it's surprising to be able to finally look at works I only previously saw on screen or glimpsed in tiny shots in a black and white catalogue of works.  Like this copy of the Mona Lisa which is unsurprisingly similar to the Prado.

Most of the paintings are concentrated at the three art galleries, but there are also eight at World Museum Liverpool (former Liverpool Museum) and fifty odd at the new  Museum of Liverpool of local scenes.  This is going to take some exploration.

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