Tate, with the help of BT and the New Opportunities Fund (NOF), has created the first comprehensive online catalogue of the work of JMW Turner. During the year-long process a number of drawings, thought to be lost, have been traced and are included in the website www.tate.org.uk/turnerww
Turner Worldwide reunites, for the first time, over 2,000 works by Turner held in private and public collections around the world with the vast Turner Bequest given to the nation on Turner’s death and held at Tate (which numbers some 30,000 works in total). Turner Worldwide should quickly become the first stop for information on Turner and the site includes links to other public collections with important Turner holdings as well as references to further authoritative published catalogues.
The work of the Tate Insight project (www.tate.org.uk/collections/insight.htm), which last year launched online access to the entire Turner Bequest, has been supported by the New Opportunities Fund and BT, exclusive sponsor of Tate Online.
Not only is Turner Worldwide the first online catalogue of Turner’s work, and, one of the largest online catalogues of any artist, but the last printed Turner catalogues were published twenty years ago, with many works in black and white or not illustrated. The online catalogue which is free and universally available includes colour images of the highest quality. The material is also much easier to update than a printed catalogue, and allows numerous searches making it much easier for scholars and Turner enthusiasts to locate the works they are interested in. Online users are able to search the non-Tate works separately or to integrate all the Turners and search by other criteria such as location or date.
Over 100 public and private collections around the world are already involved and have given Tate permission to illustrate their works on Turner Worldwide, including around fifty galleries in the UK. This includes hitherto hidden works in regional collections which are rarely exhibited or not allowed to travel. Initially half the catalogue has been illustrated through images provided by the owners, and it is expected that the proportion of illustrations will grow over time. Information contained in the catalogue will continue to grow as more works and images become available to Tate through further external partnerships and Tate is still pursuing another 400 works untraced for decades, details of which can be found on the site.
Turner curator Ian Warrell commented:
This is an extremely important and long awaited resource which is invaluable for Turner scholars and enthusiasts. We very much hoped that those collectors and galleries who have works not yet illustrated in the catalogue will be encouraged to come forward and get involved with the project as it continues to develop.
BT’s Head of Sponsorship Paul Leonard, said:
To have created the definitive catalogue of Turner works is a fantastic achievement but what makes it so exciting is that this facility is available online, giving access to Turner’s works to so many more people. As exclusive sponsor of Tate Online, BT is committed, via its online capabilities, to communicate the message of ‘art for all’ to as wide an audience as possible and this project perfectly exemplifies that rationale.
Notes to Editor
In parallel with its recent physical expansion and as part of its digital activities, Tate has committed to a long-term programme to provide greater access to the Collection beyond the gallery walls. Insight aims to deliver high quality indexed images for all works in the Tate Collection, comprising some 60,000 items ranging from iconic paintings and sculptures to relatively obscure pencil drawings and sketchbooks. This includes around 30,000 works in the vast Turner Bequest as well as partnerships with a range of other collections in order to digitise and display 2,000 works by Turner not held at Tate. Work is also underway to promote access to the Tate Archive through an online illustrated showcase, together with a range of engaging learning journeys from the rich archival resource.
Insight began with the launch of the Tate website in 1998, which contained a partially illustrated concise catalogue of the Collection. It was then taken forward through the British Art Information Project, part of the Tate Britain Centenary development supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The initiative is currently being extended through the NOF digitise programme supported by the New Opportunities Fund.
BT Sponsorship of Tate Online
The project has been supported by the continuing sponsorship of the Tate website, Tate Online, by BT. Tate Online (www.tate.org.uk) is one of the largest and most popular websites in the world. The technology behind the site is provided by BT and part of BT’s initiative to make art accessible to everyone. The website currently registers over 2 million unique visitors annually. For those who have not yet been able to visit the Tate galleries, this online collaboration is a way of literally bringing art into their living room.
Tate Online is an award-winning website having won a BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award 2002 for its i-Map site designed for visually impaired people. Tate Online also won the first ever London Tourism award for Best Website in 2002. BT won a Hollis Sponsorship Award 2003 for ‘Best use of PR in a Sponsorship Campaign’ for its association with Tate Online.
BT’s work with Tate Online creates a wider showcase of today’s art and allows exploration into the art of tomorrow through technology and communication.
Liz Cobbold/Christine Emmingham at Sinclair Mason on behalf of BT
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New Opportunities Fund (www.nof.org.uk)
The New Opportunities Fund awards National Lottery grants to education, health and environment projects throughout the UK, aiming to improve quality of life, with a particular focus on people who are most disadvantaged. The Fund’s £50 million UK-wide NOF digitise programme is designed to bring the learning material and resources currently contained in museums, galleries, libraries, archives and universities directly into homes and communicates.
The Fund awarded grants to 150 organisations across the UK, large and small, to convert a huge variety of material into digital format. The range of material digitised includes archaeology, maritime, architecture, fine art, social and oral history. In Scotland, £6 million is being used to create a ‘virtual communities bank’ of internet learning. Projects can be accessed through the www.EnrichUK.net web portal.