The Public Catalogue Foundation now known as Art UK has, over the past ten years photographed 210,000 publicly owned oil paintings from 3,000 collections in the UK. All of which are available to see on the PCF website.
The launch of the ‘Art Detective’ programme has opened the doors for art experts to help bring together their knowledge and aid institutions to create more comprehensive records of the paintings in their collections.
Like many institutions the Stirling Smith does not always have the opportunity to investigate each painting in our large collection of oil paintings.
So when Martin Hopkinson (former Curator of Prints, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow) made a suggestion about one of our paintings we took a closer look.
Simply named ‘Habour Scene’ this oil painting by Hamilton Macallum RI RSW, dated 1894 had no indication of its location. Following the suggestion by Martin Hopkinson that this may be Dordrecht, Holland. We began a search that would indeed confirm that this painting was of Dordrecht, from the River Maas.
The tall building is de grot Kerk (big church). We guess that the green landscaped area, is either the Sophipolder Island or the NoordPark which is the area opposite the Doredrect Banks.
Without the help of the Art Detective Project and the specialist help of Martin Hopkinson we would still just be using the term ‘location unknown’ on the collections record.