20 unseen paintings on display at Lews Castle College

As part of the Your Paintings celebration, Lews Castle College, in Stornoway is showing approximately twenty paintings to the public for the first time, at its main campus, on Friday 8th February from 09.00 to 17.00. Entrance is free.

The event is part of a nationwide series of activities to celebrate the completion of Your Paintings, a website for the entire UK national collection of oil paintings created by the BBC in partnership with the Public Catalogue Foundation. All 211,861 paintings are now available to view online at: bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings

Held in over 3,000 galleries, museums and other civic buildings around the country, these paintings span over 600 years of art history – arguably the greatest national collection of its kind in the world. Due to limitations of exhibition space, 80% of these works are normally held in storage and not easily visible to the people who own them – the UK public.

Lews Castle College holds over forty paintings in its archives.

Caroline Brick, Librarian of Lews Castle College, comments: “Lews Castle College has established a programme of purchasing examples of artworks produced by its fine art students. These works are often informed by our unique and beautiful local environment, landscape and culture.

“The College also holds works by local artists and paintings reflecting the College’s historical connections.

“The Your Paintings website features paintings from 441 museums, galleries and public buildings in Scotland. They include major attractions such as works by the mid-nineteenth century Scottish artist Alexander F. Sutherland, owned by Lews Castle College.

“In addition, we are inviting you to ‘tag’ paintings on our local collections on the website. This data will allow future users of the Your Paintings website to easily find paintings by subjects, themes and events that interest them in our region. The tagging process doesn’t require expert knowledge, but those with specialist information on paintings in the collection are invited to contact the Public Catalogue Foundation.

Andrew Ellis from the Public Catalogue Foundation 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!”

To see and tag Your Paintings and find out more about our event and participating galleries, museums and public buildings in Lewis please visit: www.bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings.