Introducing – The Picture Library Blog

This image from the late 1980s captures The Picture Library in an almost unrecognisable form. If it wasn’t for the youthful Sheel Douglas, wearing very fashionable dungarees, or the old cloth bags, it could be a photograph of any fine art collection. (Image: Sheel Douglas and The Picture Library, c. 1988, photography John Freeman)

Hello and welcome to The Picture Library blog! 
When I tell the story of The Picture Library many are surprised to learn that for over half a century the scheme has offered the residents of Yorkshire the chance to enjoy original works of art at home. Established during the optimistic and progressive 1960s the scheme was an instant hit that quickly became an integral part of the Gallery; fast-forward to the late 1990s and the much loved service had become ragged; the works of art were in desperate need of conservation and the membership had begun to dwindle. 
To renew the scheme and reignite its relevance change was necessary, so in autumn 2009 we took the difficult decision to halt The Picture Library whilst we began the vital process of conserving and reframing the works of art. Twelve months later The Picture Library was re-launched to widespread support. We’ve since worked hard to improve the scheme further by acquiring new works of art, continuing our conservation programme and most recently making works available to swap almost every day of the year via the Gallery’s shop.
At its heart The Picture Library makes art part of everyday life. Pursuing this endeavour and broadening its scope we’ve collaborated with many organisations within Yorkshire working with artists, poets, medics and teachers to foster an active interest in the visual arts, to improve wellbeing in hospitals and to inspire learning in classrooms across Leeds. Most of these activities pass by unnoticed by the general visitor so we’ve introduced this newsletter to share with you these stories and to record the impact of your continual support of The Picture Library.
Our hope for this blog is to provide a platform for Picture Library news alongside regular features including articles introducing artists and artworks represented within the scheme’s collection. I sincerely hope it will be informative, enjoyable to read and of value to you. ​

Find out more about the scheme and how to join on The Picture Library website.

By Theodore Wilkins, Assistant Curator of Fine Art

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