Skate expectations: 30,000 paintings from across Scotland go online

The Skating Minister is one of the paintings available to view online
The Skating Minister is one of the paintings available to view online
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MORE than 30,000 oil paintings from across Scotland are available to inspect online for the first time in a ground-breaking new project to open up access to the nation’s artistic masterpieces.

Museums and galleries across Scotland have agreed to allow their collections to be part of a vast catalogue of works.

The project allows the public to access a one-stop-shop where they can see the paintings held by famous attractions like the Burrell Collection and Kelvingrove, in Glasgow, Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament building and Aberdeen Art Gallery.

It also includes paintings held in hospitals and health centres, sports centres, police and fire stations, airports and even high schools.

Made up from 441 separate collections, the new database includes many of Scotland’s best-known works of art, including Henry Raeburn’s famous image of the skating minister, Edwin Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen and Jack Vettriano’s self-portraits.

A joint project between the Public Catalogue Foundation charity and the BBC, “Your Paintings” has won the backing of Scotland’s national museums and galleries bodies, as well as the National Trust for Scotland.

Among the more unusual collections going online are those held at Edinburgh Zoo, Hampden Park stadium, BBC Scotland’s studios in Glasgow, Inverness Airport, the Scottish Police College, in Fife, and the New Lanark world heritage site.

Among the most prolific artists featured are Edinburgh-born duo Raeburn, who has 259 paintings on the website, and Allan Ramsay, who has 159. The four “Scottish Colourists” – John Duncan Fergusson, Francis Cadell, Samuel Peploe and Leslie Hunter – boast about 600 between them.

John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: “The completion of this catalogue is an amazing achievement and a cause for great celebration.

“The Your Paintings website demonstrates how the reach and impact of public collections is changing dramatically in the digital age bringing us all much closer to the paintings that we own and, I’m sure, encouraging even more people to search out the actual objects in museums and galleries across the country.” Kate Mavor, chief executive of NTS, said: “It is fantastic that each of our 2,000 paintings are now available as part of this amazing resource. From stern lairds with their beloved pets to stunning landscapes and dazzling colourists, our fine art collection is one of the nation’s treasures.”

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland is home to a wealth of oil paintings, with more than 30,000 in collections.

“The successful completion of this hugely ambitious project means our nation’s best-known treasures and hidden gems are now available online, free of charge, for all to enjoy.”

• The full catalogue is available at