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Haringey’s historic oil paintings go online for the first time

12:06 16 April 2012

Girl And A Witch, 1886-1917, by Beatrice Offor. Picture: Bruce Castle Museum

Girl And A Witch, 1886-1917, by Beatrice Offor. Picture: Bruce Castle Museum

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A new online art archive is bringing Haringey’s history to life for future generations - allowing people to ‘tag’ their favourite oil paintings.

A total of 2,700 paintings displayed or archived in public buildings in north and east London were recently given a new lease of life on the Your Paintings website.

Almost 250 paintings held by Haringey Culture, Libraries and Learning at Bruce Castle Museum have been photographed and uploaded as part of a project to create an online catalogue of every publicly-owned British oil painting.

The collection includes 38 works, including Girl And A Witch, by Tottenham artist Beatrice Offor, who was born in 1864.

She painted many portraits of girls, but met a sudden end in 1920 after falling from a window in a supposed suicide at her home in Bruce Grove.

Edith Hibbert’s landscapes, such as Bruce Grove, are also featured on the site. Edith was one of the seven sisters who, legend has it, each planted a tree near today’s Seven Sisters station.

The project, backed by the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) and the BBC, aims to create an online catalogue of every publicly-owned British oil painting.

Whittington Health, which runs the Whittington Hospital in Archway, has also contributed seven works to the catalogue.

PCF director Andrew Ellis said: “No country has ever embarked on such a monumental project to showcase its entire painting collection online.”

The organisers want the public to help users find paintings they are interested in by ‘tagging’ what they see in them. Artistic expertise is not required.

Bruce Castle Museum curator Deborah Hedgecock said: “This is a great way of making paintings more accessible, whilst maintaining their condition.”

To explore the collection and try tagging, see www.bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings

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