This catalogue brings together some 2,000 oil paintings drawn from 27 collections across Cumbria, including those from Carlisle, Kendal, Wigton, Penrith, Whitehaven, Workington and Barrow-in-Furness. The large collection of Romneys at Abbot Hall (Lakeland Arts Trust), in Kendal constitutes a wonderfully varied overview of the artist’s career. Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery includes an impressive cache of contemporary works. The well-documented life and work of William Wordsworth in The Wordsworth Trust’s collection sits in the Lake District. John Ruskin’s former home at Brantwood and The Ruskin Museum, dedicated to his memory, can be found at Coniston. Smaller collections at Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, Kendal Town Council and the University of Cumbria further illuminate the history and artistic legacy of Cumbria.
The Public Catalogue Foundation is a charity passionate about making art accessible to the public and educational research. Between 2003 and 2012, they digitised all 210,000 oil paintings in public ownership around the United Kingdom (80% of which are not on view), resulting in this series of affordable catalogues and an online database. They are currently working to digitise the nation’s public sculpture collection.