The Yale Center for British Art has announced their latest contribution of collections data and images to Google Arts & Culture, which allows the public to explore collections from around the world. The publication of 16,392 works through Google’s online platform represents an increase of more than 10,000 works since the last data exchange in 2011. In keeping with Yale University’s open access policy, all of these artworks in the Center’s collection are believed to be in the public domain and are now accessible through the Google Arts & Culture’s website and mobile app.
"The Yale Center for British Art is proud to expand its collection offerings in partnership with Google Arts & Culture and in support of Yale University's ambitious Open Access Policy, which seeks to enhance access to the collections in the museums, archives, and libraries for students, faculty, and the world," explained Director Courtney J. Martin. "As one of the earliest university museums to join this pioneering initiative in 2011, we are pleased to know that the museum draws global audiences who can see and experience the largest collection of British Art outside of the United Kingdom and contextualize these works within the broader scope of art history."
Google Arts & Culture now showcases aspects of the Center’s collection that may be new even to those familiar with the museum. There are a number of photographs from the Center’s Prints and Drawings department, along with a host of acquisitions of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper made since 2011. Highlights include Joseph Wright of Derby’s Landscape with a Rainbow, Sir Thomas Lawrence’s The Wellesley-Pole Sisters, and portraits by Mary Beale, William Larkin, and the bronze portrait busts of Hafiz Abdul Karim and Muhammad Bakhsh Shakh, who were attendants to Queen Victoria at her court during the last decade and a half of her reign.
Also included are a selection of paintings from the collection of Paul Mellon (1907–1999), bequeathed to the Center from the Mellon estate following the passing of his wife Rachel Lambert Mellon (1910–2014). This gift features works by Sir Edwin Landseer and Gwen John, a Welsh artist who worked in France for much of her career, painting solemn, contemplative portraits of women such as La Chambre sur la Cour.
This partnership with Google Arts & Culture was possible because the Center expresses its collections data to programmatic services such as Google in the Lightweight Information Describing Objects (LIDO) format. The Google team has worked diligently with the Center to transform the data for the requirements of the Google Arts & Culture interface. Thanks to the Center’s digital infrastructure, Google was able to access the Center’s images from the museum self-service image endpoint. In this way, the Center’s data exchange capacity allows the museum to undertake large projects like this to support its educational mission and to make its collections available to the widest possible audience.
"We are thrilled that the Yale Center for British Art's online collection has continued to grow since we began working together in 2011, the year Google Arts & Culture was created," said Simon Delacroix, Lead for Google Arts & Culture. "The scale of this latest publication is testament to Center's rich collection, and we are glad to be able to bring these works online and, in the process, to people all around the world."