Brilliant what you can find when you go looking for it!! Your Paintings is a website which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real. It is made up of paintings from thousands of museums and other public institutions around the country.
This is a veritable feast for anyone who enjoys learning about the past, by exploring the art of painters seeing and expressing themselves through paint. It is a project of awesome dimension, and I warn you, it is addictive. I particularly like the guided tours, that are a wonderful starting block to wandering around the site .
It houses famous painters, as well as amateur painters, and there are thousands of paintings to discover. I have been reacquainted with an artist who was commissioned by my mother to paint two paintings of Derbyshire in the 1970’s as a gift to her then husband, my father. This artist, John Spence was a friend of theirs, and was generous enough to share some of his time with me, then a teenager, in love with the drama and the passion that can be created and expressed by the creative artist. He took myself and my closest friend on an amazing exploration of old Nottingham, the Lace Market, one dusk, and opened our eyes to the opportunity of seeing stories and visions in ordinary places. The evening ended on on a high note, when we went back to a friend of his, who had created a fairytale adventure of magic in his third floor of an old Victorian house. It was like entering into a grotto, containing excitement and trepidation, not knowing what would appear before you. I have never forgotten it, and it has advised my life. It showed me how to remain vigilant to what is around me, to retain the magic of surprise, to enjoy curiosity. I loved the evening , and I loved the man, for introducing me so spectacularly to the excitement that art can bring. My father divorced, took the paintings, and I never saw them again. I asked once, but was not encouraged to dig deeper. I know he didn’t hang them in his home with his new wife. I miss them, would have liked to have them hung in my home, as a memory of the family when it had some sense of unity, as they shared a love of Derbyshire, and the paintings represented it beautifully. Who knows? Maybe one day , they will appear on this site, and I will be able to reacquaint myself with them. I know John doesn’t know where they went, because I have asked him!! He has an interesting website that you may want to visit too.http://johnspence.org/
This is one of Johns paintings on the BBC site . The Secret Hour.
I hope you spend some time enjoying what the BBC and their partners have put together here, it is truly a magical find.