What is Art Detective?

Art Detective is a Subject Specialist Network which aims to improve our knowledge and understanding of the UK's public art collection. We offer support by bringing together expertise from art historians, curators, dealers and members of the public.


To submit information to Art Detective, the artwork must appear on Art UK. We do not answer enquiries about art that falls outside this remit – for example, artworks owned by individuals.

Our discussions are open to all. The discussion group leaders are experts in their fields, often with an art history background, or specific local or technical knowledge.

Every collection represented on Art UK can use Art Detective to research its artworks, and to answer queries on them. When a collection joins Art UK, it will be given a username and password in order to use the site. 

Art Detective staff also send updates directly to collections, if the updates are supported by firm evidence. Thousands of updates are sent to collections every year, ranging from small but important details, such as correcting a digit in a date, to exciting new discoveries, such as finding the identity of this sitter

We have links to five other specialist research groups: The British Art Network, Understanding British Portraits, The Maritime Curators Group, European Paintings pre-1900 and The Costume Society.