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.