The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) seeks to maximise public access to its collections through research, exhibitions and publications. Now the Visual Arts Department has taken an exciting leap into the digital world, going live today with an online portal of collection information, Paintings from the Collection.
The project consists of high resolution photographs and information for 684 oil paintings from the collection. Each photograph is accompanied by information including the artist, title, date, measurements and media of the work, and how the work was acquired. There is also a simple subject search function.
This will make information about our paintings accessible in a way we could not have imagined even a few years ago. Technological advances are so rapid and are impacting on almost all aspects of our lives. These impacts are also being felt by curators, whose responsibility it is not only to research and record information about the collections they care for, but also to make this information available to as broad an audience as possible.
This is the first stage in an ambitious project to ensure the collection is truly accessible to a world-wide audience. Over time, we intend to make it possible to be able to electronically access our entire collection of works of art.
We have commenced with the oil paintings. This collection focuses on Australian art, from colonial through to contemporary art, with a particular focus on the Tasmanian colonial period. There is also a small collection of European paintings. Over half the paintings have come into the collection as gifts or bequests. We intend to continue to make available information about our art collection into the future, by adding images and information on our works on paper, sculpture and decorative arts collections.
We will endeavour to continue adding to and enhancing this site by uploading additional images of oil paintings when they become available. It has not been possible to photograph every painting in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery’s collection. Some paintings, for example, have been unable to be photographed as they are awaiting conservation treatment.
It is impossible to imagine how this digitised information about our collections will be used, both by the QVMAG and our audiences, in the future. However the important first step has been taken. It will be fascinating to see how the public responds to this enhanced access.
The project is a collaboration between curators Yvonne Adkins and Bridget Arkless; Mark Gordon IT coordinator; and Renee Singline, graphic designer. The project has been fully funded by the Gordon Darling Foundation.
Bridget Arkless, Curator, 20th Century Australian Art
Above John Glover, The last muster of the Aborigines at Risdon, 1836, oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs T Baker, 1905.
Header image Thomas William Roberts, Ulverstone Beach, 1931, oil on canvas on composition board. Purchased with funds from the Launceston Museum and Art Gallery Foundation, 2008 (detail).