By using this website you are agreeing to the use of cookies. Please read our Use of Cookies policy.

Close

Art UK is delighted to announce a major new project to catalogue the UK’s national sculpture collection. This ambitious initiative will see around 170,000 sculptures from inside public collections and outdoors in the nation’s streets and squares being shown on the artuk.org website by 2020. No other country has attempted such a comprehensive digitisation of its national sculpture collection.

The UK’s national sculpture collection is drawn from all over the world – a truly global collection and arguably the greatest in existence. However, a significant proportion is not on display and little of it is photographed. Many public monuments are not fully recorded and are at risk.

Nymph Removing a Thorn from a Greyhound’s Foot (detail)

Nymph Removing a Thorn from a Greyhound’s Foot (detail)

1848, marble by Richard James Wyatt (1795–1850), Temple Newsam, Leeds, Photo credit: Art UK / Leeds City Council

This three-year project will focus on sculpture of the last thousand years. All objects will be recorded and most will be photographed, some in 3D.

Sculpture photography testing at York Art Gallery during the HLF-funded project development phase, 2015

Sculpture photography testing at York Art Gallery during the HLF-funded project development phase, 2015, Photo credit: Katey Goodwin

A variety of exciting learning, engagement, training and volunteering programmes will be taking place across the UK.

Volunteer photography training in Bath during the HLF-funded project development, 2015

Volunteer photography training in Bath during the HLF-funded project development, 2015, Photo credit: Katey Goodwin

Masterpieces in Schools will see 125 great sculptures being taken into primary and secondary schools for the day. We will also be organising 75 Sculpture Around You activities, which will see us take sculpture into shopping centres or help people develop new skills. Sixty films about sculpture and sculptors will be made with and by young people, linked to the National Curriculum.

Culture Street making a pilot sculpture film in Grizedale Forest, Cumbria, 2015

Making a sculpture film_Grizedale Forest_19Oct15

Culture Street making a pilot sculpture film in Grizedale Forest, Cumbria, 2015, Photo credit: Katey Goodwin

Seven partners will work alongside Art UK to deliver the project: the BBC, the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, Culture Street, Factum Foundation, the Royal British Society of Sculptors, the Royal Photographic Society and VocalEyes.

As part of the project Art UK will be opening a small office in Glasgow to bring it closer to collections and audiences in Scotland.

Horse and Rider

Horse and Rider

1993 by Eoghan Bridge, Rutland Court, Edinburgh, © the artist, photo credit: Katey Goodwin

Funding for the project is being provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, the Scottish Government and a range of large and small grant-giving trusts, and over 70 individual and corporate donors.

The next few months will see us concentrate on recruiting and training the first project staff and volunteers. We expect to start the digitisation process in the autumn of 2017 and see the first sculptures on Art UK around the beginning of next year.

2001 by Brian Fell, Custom House Street, Cardiff

All Hands

2001 by Brian Fell, Custom House Street, Cardiff, © the artist, photo credit: Katey Goodwin

Having been developing the plans for Art UK for four years, we want to say a huge thank you to all the people and organisations that have supported this ambitious project and helped us get to this point. We are very excited to get started!

Katey Goodwin, Art UK Deputy Director, Head of Digitisation and Public Engagement