The Public Catalog Foundation’s copyright policy

Various bits of the British government own paintings. These range from some quite serious works of art, through various works of war artists to various odds and ends that just seem to have accumulated over the years. Most of these works are however rarely seen by the general public. A lot are in storage or on the walls of various council offices around the country. A selection may be on display in the local art gallery but that still results in pretty limited access. The Public Catalogue Foundation has decided to do something about this and has scanned a bunch of them. The results so far can be found here:

Quite a lot of interesting stuff there from a Fayum mummy portrait to paintings of some of the follies in Staunton Park.

A lot of the paintings are in the public domain since their copyright has long since expired (or in the case of the Fayum mummy portrait they pre-date copyright) however if we open up the image meta-data we find:

Copyright Museums Sheffield / Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation. This image is copyrighted. The Public Catalogue Foundation is committed to respecting the intellectual property rights of others. The copyright in paintings and images reproduced by the Public Catalogue Foundation belong to a variety of organisations and individuals including the collections that own the paintings and third party rights holders. Permitted Use of This Image: This image and data related to the image may be reproduced for non-commercial research and private study purposes. For ALL other uses other than those outlined above, including commercial uses, users should contact, in the first instance, the contributing collection using the contact information provided on the Your Paintings website. Where the underlying painting is in copyright, further permissions will also be needed. Protection of Image Copyright: This image is protected with a secure invisible digital watermark that allows the Public Catalogue Foundation to identify unauthorized use of the image. Further Information: Any queries should be addressed to

Lovely. Apparently wikimedia-UK did have some words with them but it didn’t work out. Now of course this can be settled by our US editors performing a mass grab based on Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. but it’s a unfortunate that things may come to that.

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