Artwork features in unique project

Portrait of Lady Augusta Kennedy-Erskine and children by George Hayter held at the House of Dun near Montrose, Angus.
Portrait of Lady Augusta Kennedy-Erskine and children by George Hayter held at the House of Dun near Montrose, Angus.

WORKs of art held by organisations in and around Montrose are featured in a new project which brings the country’s national art collection to a new and wider audience.

More than 80 oil paintings in the House of Dun’s collection and nine held by the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre can now be viewed worldwide online thanks to the ‘Your Paintings’ website, a collaboration between BBC Learning and the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF).

In all, 211,861 paintings are featured on the website and can now be viewed online. Held in more than 3,000 galleries, museums and other civic buildings around the country, they span more than 600 years of art history and form what is, arguably, the greatest national collection of its kind in the world.

Due to limitations of exhibition space, however, 80 per cent of these works are normally held in storage and not easily visible to the people who own them – the UK public.

The ‘Your Paintings’ website features paintings housed in 441 museums, galleries and public buildings across Scotland and viewers are being inviting you to ‘tag’ paintings in local collections which will allow future users to easily find paintings by subjects, themes and events of interest in different regions.

The tagging process requires no expert knowledge, but those with specialist information on paintings in the collection are invited to contact the PCF.

Andrew Ellis, from the PCF, said the project is totally unique.

He said: “No other country has ever embarked on such a project to make accessible online its entire collection of oil paintings. The result is an extraordinary rich and varied virtual gallery of paintings with styles and subject matters to suit all tastes and interests. Anyone can now contribute to the project by tagging paintings so that the paintings can be searched in future. Tagging is easy, fun and, for many, addictive.”

Angus generally is well represented with works featured from collections including those held at the Angus Archive, Arbroath Art Gallery, The Mechanics Institute in Brechin, The Meffan in Forfar. Angus Folk Museum at Glamis and J.M. Barrie’s Birthplace in Kirriemuir and Angus College.

Among the works on display from the House of Dun is a portrait of Lady Augusta FitzClarence Kennedy-Erskine, a daughter of a daughter of the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV, and the actress Dorothea Jordan, with whom he had 10 illegitimate children.

Lady Augusta’s husband, John Erskine Kennedy-Erskine, died of consumption in 1831 which dates the picture by John Hayter to between 1827, when she was married, and 1831. Although she later remarried, there were no more children.

She is depicted with her son William Henry and daughters Millicent and Wilhemina.

Saul Nasse, controller of BBC Learning, said: “The idea that we could put on virtual display all the UK’s paintings was madly ambitious, but thanks to a brilliant partnership with the PCF, we’ve realised that ambition. Your Paintings is a thing of beauty and I’m hoping the events that we’re rolling out right across the country are going to inspire thousands more people to learn about these wonderful paintings.’

The paintings and details of the organisations participating in Angus can be found at