New showcase for 1,000 years of UK sculpture
Art UK has photographed and digitised more than 36,000 sculptures on public display and held-in collections across the UK – and now you can see them all online.
The digital archive includes:
- over 13,500 outdoor sculptures across every nation and region of the UK, from city centres to remote islands
- almost every sculpture inside UK public collections from the last 1,000 years
The project was made possible with the help of over 500 photography and data volunteers, and supported by a £2.8million Heritage Fund grant.
You can see them all on the Art UK website.
Opening up heritage
As well as allowing members of the public to search for and discover artworks, the database will also contribute to the protection and preservation of the outdoor sculptures.
The pandemic demonstrated just how important access to our heritage is, and how digital can play a vital role.
Eilish McGuiness, Chief Executive of the Heritage Fund
Eilish McGuiness, Chief Executive of the Heritage Fund, said: "The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic demonstrated just how important access to our heritage is, and how digital can play a vital role.
"Thanks to the tireless work of the project team and hundreds of volunteers, we can discover the stories behind the sculptures we walk past day-to-day, as well as those in remote locations or towns we’ve never visited.
"It opens up a rich world of heritage that belongs to all of us."
Telling sculpture stories
The unique online resource showcases the rich history of public sculpture in the UK and how public sculpture itself represents our history.
This is a wonderful resource allowing all of us to know and visit the works that we collectively own.
Sculptor Antony Gormley
Famous figures depicted range from Pocahontas to the Bee Gees.
Research also revealed some interesting facts about representation in the history of UK sculpture:
of 13,000 outdoor sculpture records, just over 2,600 depict or commemorate named people – and 77.5% of these are men
of these 2,600, just under 2% depict or commemorate people of diverse ethnic communities
The largest group of named people commemorated are royalty, with over 460 public sculptures: 175 public monuments and sculptures are dedicated to Queen Victoria alone.
Other people depicted and commemorated in large numbers are military figures, politicians, religious figures, writers and poets.
Artist Antony Gormley, whose work Angel of the North is one of the UK’s most famous public sculptures, said: "This is a wonderful resource allowing all of us to know and visit the works that we collectively own."
Find out more
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