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Art Detective

The UK National Gallery presents the Art Detective website, with a mission to increase the visibility of public art collections in the United Kingdom by connecting "public art collections with specialists and members of the public." Before exploring the site's rich offerings, users should check out the Art Detective Collections Guide, accessible under the For Collections tab. This downloadable PDF guide acts as an overview of the website and acquaints readers with relevant terminology. Visitors may wish to begin by browsing thematic Groups, which offer background information and aggregate discussions on areas such as Dress and Textiles, Northern Ireland: Artists and Subjects, and Sculpture. Clicking the Discussions tab reveals a more than 470 user-generated questions (as of this write-up) and replies, which can be filtered by status (active or complete), artwork type, and thematic group. Topics under discussion include (for example) "Who is the sitter in 'Portrait of an African' attributed to Allan Ramsay?" The Discoveries tab shows the fruits of users' work, featuring solved mysteries. One example is the identity of the sitter in a portrait by John Munnoch (1879-1915), thought to be another artist named Jessie MacGregor (1847-1919), but revealed by Art Detective users' sleuthing to be a different, younger woman also named Jessie MacGregor, who was the artist's fiancee at the time the portrait was painted.
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