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Art Detective 

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 providers of specialist knowledge.

The principal outcome of Art Detective is improved knowledge of the UK’s public art collection. Significant discoveries are written about in the Discoveries section of the site.


Commercial Digitisation Services

The Public Catalogue Foundation (the registered charity behind Art UK) has been a pioneering name in fine art digitisation for nearly 15 years. Since 2002 we have been digitising the UK’s publicly owned paintings, working with museums, galleries, councils and hospitals across the UK. Over 200,000 of the paintings we have digitised are shown here on Art UK.  

Our expertise lies in the photography of paintings, sculpture and other museum objects. We can work with both 2D and 3D media, from a piece of jewellery to large furniture. We are able to photograph paintings and sculptures in situ, or in the studio, as required.

We have access to a team of 30 fine art photographers located across the UK. Our commercial services are available for private collections, as well as public institutions.

Art UK will work closely with you to find the best, most cost-effective solutions to your individual digitisation needs. A free quote will be supplied for any services you require.

Revenue from our commercial services supports the charitable work of Art UK. 

For more information, please contact Camilla Stewart, Commercial Partnerships Manager (


Masterpieces in Schools 

The first Masterpieces in Schools programme ran in October 2013. Twenty-six oil painting masterpieces by artists such as Gainsborough, Lowry, Monet and Turner were lent by museums and other collections around the United Kingdom to nearby primary or secondary schools for the day. Each of the schools had the opportunity to use the painting as inspiration for creative learning across as many subject areas of the curriculum as possible.

A second programme is planned to start in early 2017 and will see the lending of important works of sculpture to over 100 schools across the UK.


Permissions Portal

The Permissions Portal is an online interface that allows collections and artists represented on Art UK to update and open up the rights in their works.

This revolutionary licensing and technology framework will help propagate a more consistent approach to copyright and licensing across the museum sector and will assist museums of all sizes to manage more efficiently the copyright in images of their works.

Art UK has been advised by leaders in the field of copyright and museums during the creation of the Permissions Portal, and the project is supported and funded by Arts Council England.


Sculpture Project

The Art UK Sculpture project is creating a comprehensive record of the UK’s publicly owned sculptures. Many of these works are hidden away, without records, images or online access. Many public monuments are not fully recorded and are at risk. The project will transform the way people access and learn about their sculpture heritage, and will allow existing, new and diverse audiences to share knowledge, exchange opinions and visit objects, both in person and online.

The Sculpture Project is being run in partnership with the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, the BBC, Culture Street, the Royal Photographic Society, the Royal British Society of Sculptors, Factum Foundation and VocalEyes. Project development is supported by the Sculpture Steering Panel consisting of sculpture experts and curators from across the UK.

Project funders include the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, the Scottish Government, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Henry Moore Foundation, The Pilgrim Trust, The Linbury Trust and Sir Siegmund Warburg Voluntary Settlement. A full list of funders can be found here.



Tagger is a crowd-sourcing project, created in partnership with the Citizens Science Alliance team based in the Astrophysics Department at the University of Oxford, and staff at the Art History Department at the University of Glasgow. Tagger invites the public to tag art with words and also put artworks into categories. The resulting tags are invaluable, as they allow visitors to Art UK to search artworks by subject matter.

A great number of artworks have already been tagged. However, there is a lot of tagging still to be done. Click here to visit the Tagger website and join a community of thousands of taggers helping to tag the nation’s art.