As you browse the database, you will see thousands of works of art. Not all of them are strictly ‘British.’ Here’s the criteria I used. As with anything, there is an overlap. When I set out to build the database, it became clear I needed flexibility to build it quickly and to get this thing live. Many of the institutions that have these works in their collections have perfectly fine websites or are on Google Arts and Culture, but we wanted them to be all in one place.
And now a few caveats about the collection - please read:
- Is the artist British? If the artist was British, then we try to include them. We have several main categories for the ‘masters.’
- Is the subject British? If the subject of the painting is British, but the artist is not, they would also be included (i.e. Cannaleto or Van Dycke)
- Is the art institution that has the art located in Britain? This is the biggest one here - we have found the archives of several major UK art institutions and added them. However, while the artworks may live in a British museum, a lot of them aren’t British as defined by the criteria above - but we’ve included them anyway. For example, we’ve uploaded a large majority of the collection of the National Gallery in London but there are many paintings in the collection that aren’t ‘British.’ This makes it feel like you can virtually browse the collections as these fine institutions.
- Is the artist dead? I’m going to say the gauche thing and admit I’m not a huge fan of modern art, so you won’t find much of it in this database. Not just because I don’t like it, but because most ‘new’ stuff is under jealously guarded copyright. I’ve made an exception for the works of Sir Winston Churchill, all painted in the 20th century but their historical importance outweighs this.
- This is not a scholarly resource. It’s simply for looking at pretty art. If you want to learn more about specific paintings, you’ll have to look them up elsewhere.
- A small percentage of images don’t have a title or description, it’s not possible for me to add them on a mass scale. If you see one incorrectly labeled or not labeled at all - simply leave a comment on the image so everyone else can see what it is.
- I’ve done my best to source the highest resolution versions possible of each work of art (my poor, poor server). You can download, use freely, make it a desktop wallpaper, etc.
- You will come across some works twice. It was easier to upload in mass quantities, rather than individually delete images that were already in the database.
- We do not own the rights to these images. A large majority are in the public domain and are copyright free (yay!). If you’re a rights holder to an image, contact us and we’ll remove it immediately. In addition, you do not need to ask us permission if you want to use these images for something.
- Also, the site is mobile and tablet-optimized. You can even add it as an icon to your home screen and it will behave like a native phone app. It's great for finding a new wallpaper for your phone!