Arts charity unveils landmark digitisation project of more than 13,000 public sculptures

Around 13,500 public sculptures from across the UK have been photographed as part of an ambitious digitisation project by Art UK.

Staff and volunteers at the charity have photographed and analysed the sculptures, which are being made available online.

This five-year project found that more than 2,600 were to commemorate named people, and included fountains, clocks and bandstands.

Among the 140,000 photographs taken are of sculptures by artists including Antony Gormley, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Those depicted in the statutes include historical figures such as Queen Victoria as well as entertainment figures including The Bee Gees.

The online search is aimed at those wanting to see the range of sculptures in the UK as well as for art students. Visitors can filter by subject, location and artist.

“The UK has a rich and enviable collection of public sculptures, and we are thrilled to have brought them all together on Art UK at this time of national interest in our public sculpture heritage,” said Andrew Ellis, Art UK director.

“This five-year project to document sculpture in the UK's outdoor spaces is not only a significant milestone for our charity, but also for anyone who cares about public art or simply wants to find out more about that sculpture they walk past each day.”

Art UK’s hopes to document the UK’s outdoor murals as part of its next digitisation project, subject to funding.

This is among the largest digitisation projects to be developed by a charity.

Another notable scheme started last year by the UK’s oldest charity Coram, which received National Lottery funding to create an online archive of its records. The children’s charity’s records date back to its launch as The Foundling Hospital in 1739.

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