We are used to photography documenting our world. Where we are. What we do. How we do it. But what about before photography?
It was then that painters would use watercolour painting to document the world. These paintings, however, were often hidden away in archives, private collections, museums and art galleries. Now for the first time a UK based charity, Watercolour World has made it their mission to digitise watercolour painting and make it available to everyone.
We are creating a free online database of documentary watercolours painted before 1900. For the first time, you can explore these fascinating visual records on a world map, search for topics that are important to you, and compare watercolours from multiple collections in one place. We hope that this project will not simply preserve the watercolour record but revive it, sparking new conversations and revelations. By making history visible to more people, we can deepen our understanding of the world.
We may be used to watercolour landscape painting, but searching through the Watercolour World database it is revealing just how much social history is documented. Have a look, it is well worth a watercolour moment.