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

Your collection account

Over 3,200 collection venues are represented on the Art UK website. Art UK has already created accounts for those collections. If you have not received your Art Detective login details please contact

Art UK will provide you with a username and password. Once logged in, you will be able to send Art UK updates and enquiries about artworks in your collection. You can also start and join public discussions, where you can discuss artworks in your collection with experts in the topic area.

Making enquiries about artworks

Please go to Art UK and find the artwork you want to comment on. Underneath the image is a link: 'Send information to Art Detective'. Use the drop-down menu to select your topic. Click the link to submit your enquiry.

Changing information on Art UK yourself

Please make edits using the Art UK Collections Portal. If you think you don't have access, email

Speaking personally

Please note that comments made from collection accounts will appear on behalf of the collection. If you are from a collection but would like to comment personally, please register for a personal account (see 'Sign in', and select the option 'I'm new here'.)

We need collections to be involved

We hope collections can maintain an active presence on Art Detective, as we will also send private comments and suggestions through the site for the attention of collections. These may include comments that do not need to be discussed publicly, such as approaches from sitters' relatives, or simple suggestions to improve and enhance the artwork record, such as possible spelling mistakes. Proposed discussions will be sent to the collection before a public discussion is created – collections will receive email notifications about this activity.

To access your list of submissions on Art Detective, please log in, and hover your cursor over the circular icon in the top-right corner. In that menu, click 'Proposed discussions'.

Sharing high-resolution images

Occasionally, contributors to public discussions may want to see a high-resolution image of the artwork. Collections own the rights to the high-resolution images of the artworks shown on Art UK, and should decide whether they would like to share them. If a collection feels comfortable sharing a high-resolution image, they can upload the high-resolution image to the relevant discussion, or to give Art UK permission to do so. High-resolution images are uploaded at the collection’s own risk as, once uploaded, images can be downloaded by anyone viewing the public discussion – even users who are not signed up. If a collection would like to share the image on an individual basis with specific Art Detective contributors, Art UK can help put collections and individuals in touch. If you represent a collection and want to share an image with an individual contributor, email

All collections should have been sent high-resolution images of their artworks by Art UK. If you have questions about this, please email

Email notifications 

You will receive email notifications from Art Detective if you are following a group, following a discussion, or if Art UK includes the collection in a proposed discussion.

You can tell if you are watching a group or a discussion by signing into Art Detective and going to the individual group page, or to the discussions pages. If the 'eye' symbol is red it means you are watching the group or discussion. Click the 'eye' to stop watching groups or discussions. If you are watching a group, you will automatically watch any new discussions that are posted which are assigned to that group.

Proposed discussions

When a discussion is proposed it does not go live immediately. Proposed discussions from members of the public are reviewed by the Art Detective Officer. There is often no need for a public discussion if firm evidence has been sent.

To see the status of each submission you will need to be signed in. Please note that completed proposed discussions will be removed from this menu. Proposed discussions are completed either when the discussion is made public, or if Art UK believes the query has been resolved.

More information

If you would like to contact Art UK privately, please email or call 020 7927 6263.