Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Visual Art and Design’ Category

Ambitious project provides world-wide access to QVMAG collection

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

Online database


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).

Gordon Darling logo


The Legacy of Hugh Ramsay

Hugh Ramsay (1877-1906) is one of Australia’s most revered Edwardian artists. He was a highly talented, prolific and industrious artist, who enjoyed amazing success during his short life, especially during his brief sojourn in Europe. In 1902, four of his paintings were hung “on the line” at the Societe National des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Sadly his life was cut tragically short when he died of tuberculosis at 28 years of age.

Hugh Ramsay had strong connections to Launceston and this fact is reflected in the significant number of his paintings gifted by the family to the QVMAG collection. His brother, John Ramsay, had a distinguished medical career and was the first surgeon general of the Launceston General Hospital. His family resided for many years at Raglan in Launceston. The QVMAG also has over fifty drawings from his student days at the National Gallery School, Melbourne.

The Australian Institute of Art History, together with the National Gallery of Australia, recently held a one day symposium, The Legacy of Hugh Ramsay, to reassess the artist’s importance. This also provided the opportunity to celebrate the endowment of a chair in Australian art history at the University of Melbourne in his name, by his great niece Patricia Fullerton. I was fortunate to be able to attend this significant event.

Papers were presented by Australia’s most eminent art historians, academics and art museum curators on aspects of Hugh Ramsay’s life, work and continuing influence. Many made reference to the importance of the QVMAG’s Ramsay Collection.

It is a great privilege to work with the QVMAG’s art collection – it is amongst the finest in the nation. The symposium provided an opportunity to re-consider an aspect of the collection, in this case our Hugh Ramsay collection, in the context of other public collections of his work. It is hard to underestimate the benefits of such an opportunity.

Bridget Arkless, Curator Twentieth Century Australian Art.

Hugh Ramsay Venus and Adonis (1901) oil on canvas  Donated by Lady Ramsay 1949

Hugh Ramsay
Venus and Adonis (1901)
oil on canvas
Donated by Lady Ramsay 1949