May 25, 2022

A Digital Library of Documentary Watercolors From Around the World Will Launch in March 2018

From Digital Arts:

A wealth of historical watercolours from across the globe will soon be available for you to use in your own projects, through a digital library backed by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.

Before photographs existed, let alone massive online stock libraries designers have come to rely on, there were watercolour paintings, these brilliant historical artforms documented significant moments in history, such as immigration to new countries, and how society functioned. Now watercolours will be moving beyond the walls of museums and art galleries in a digital format. Read: 9 best sites for free vintage photos and artworks.

The watercolours will be available for your use simply through an online catalogue, to be made available by March next year. Dubbed the Watercolour World, you’ll be able to choose from thousands of digitised documentary watercolours dating before 1900, in what has been described as “a fascinating but largely ignored visual record.”

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More from the National Library Library of New Zealand:

Paintings from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa form part of an ambitious project to make available to the public more than three centuries’ worth of documentary watercolours from around the world.


With tens of thousands of pictures already in the process of being uploaded, the project website is set to become a significant new source of global history when it is launched in Spring next year.


The Watercolour World digital library will include images of documentary watercolours covering topography, anthropology and botany as well as historic events, people and places. Visitors to the website, to be launched in Spring next year, will be able to explore the watercolours via an interactive map and will have the opportunity to help identify unknown locations, join in discussions and deepen all our understanding of this unique historical record.

Founder Fred Hohler realised the importance of this collection of images early in his work setting up the Public Catalogue Foundation and it builds on this previous project. The PCF catalogued over 230,000 oil paintings in publicly owned or supported collections throughout the UK.

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Direct to The Watercolour World

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.