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Art Detective aims to improve knowledge of the UK's public art collection. It is an award-winning, free online network that connects public art collections with specialists and other members of the public.

Over 3,300 collection venues are represented on the Art UK website. Our shared infrastructure gives collections who join Art UK automatic access to Art Detective, enabling them to send Art UK updates and enquiries about artworks in their collection. They can also propose topics for discussion, to seek advice and opinions from experts in the topic area. 

This crowdsourcing Subject Specialist Network brings together expertise from art historians, curators, academics, dealers and members of the public to support public art collections. The discussions are open to all: registered users can propose topics and comment on any discussion. The group leaders are experts in their fields, often with an art history background, or specific local or technical knowledge. We also have links to five other specialist research groups: The British Art Network, Understanding British Portraits, The Maritime Curators Group, European Paintings pre-1900 and The Costume Society.

Aside from running the discussions that bring outside expertise to bear on a wide range of art-historical enquiries, Art Detective staff resolve straightforward enquiries directly with public art collections without the need for external contributions.

Hundreds of updates are sent to collections every year, from small but important details, such as amending a digit in a date, to major new artist attributions. Find out how you can get involved.