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The Yale Center for British Art has joined Art UK, meaning the public can see the Center's artworks, starting with the oil paintings, for the purposes of enjoyment and research. The Center's holdings make up the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the UK and, as such, complement the UK's national art collection.

While Yale Center for British Art is based in Connecticut, it has very strong links with the UK: its sister institution, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, has been based in central London since the 1970s. Art UK has no immediate plans to add any other international art collections.

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral c.1754

Canaletto (1697–1768)

Yale Center for British Art

No one individual did more to promote the study and significance of British art across the world than the American philanthropist Paul Mellon (1907–1999). His collection of British art at the Yale Center, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind outside the United Kingdom, is the first from outside the borders of Britain to be included on Art UK.

Paul Mellon

Paul Mellon 1973

Jamie Wyeth (b.1946)

Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art, now in its 42nd year, serves as both a museum and research center as part of Yale University, dedicated to promoting the study, appreciation, and enjoyment of British art. The gift of Paul Mellon, the collections present the development of art and culture in Britain from the Elizabethan period to the present day. Together with a Reference and Photographic Library, the Center's collections of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, rare books, manuscripts, and photographs provide an exceptional resource for understanding the rich story of British art.

Mrs Robinson

Mrs Robinson c.1784

Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792)

Yale Center for British Art

A Street Corner in Jamaica

A Street Corner in Jamaica 1951

John Minton (1917–1957)

Yale Center for British Art

Paul Mellon's dual status as one of the twentieth century's greatest collectors of art, and one of its greatest collectors of books has resulted in, perhaps uniquely, an institution where the history of British art and culture can be studied together under one roof. Now housed within an iconic building designed by the American architect Louis I. Kahn, the collections have continued to grow and now include more than 2,000 paintings, 250 sculptures, 20,000 drawings and watercolours, 40,000 prints, and 35,000 rare books and manuscripts.

Zikkurat 4, Spectrum

Zikkurat 4, Spectrum 1967

Joe Tilson (1928–2023)

Yale Center for British Art

Peace Embracing Plenty

Peace Embracing Plenty 1633–1634

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)

Yale Center for British Art

Extensive Landscape with Grey Clouds

Extensive Landscape with Grey Clouds c.1821

John Constable (1776–1837)

Yale Center for British Art

Paul Mellon's passion for British art was wide-ranging, extending from the medieval to the work of twentieth-century artists such as Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. It was rooted especially in the long eighteenth century and the Center now boasts a collection from this period unrivalled in its comprehensiveness, from masterpieces by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and George Stubbs, to the work of little-known regional artists working in Bath, Chichester or Lewes.

Fanny Eaton (1835–1924)

Fanny Eaton (1835–1924) 1861

Joanna Mary Wells (1831–1861)

Yale Center for British Art


Reapers 1795

George Stubbs (1724–1806)

Yale Center for British Art

On a visit to the Center today, one can encounter medieval sculpture, Jacobean portraiture, modern and contemporary painting, photography and video art alongside the grand-manner portraits, conversation pieces, and sporting art traditionally associated with British art in North America.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait c.1915

Vanessa Bell (1879–1961)

Yale Center for British Art

The Wave

The Wave 1917

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889–1946)

Yale Center for British Art

Paul Mellon founded the Center on some basic, but important principles. The most fundamental was that the collections should be as accessible as possible to as wide an audience as the Center could reach. This partnership with Art UK continues Paul Mellon's legacy and the Center's long-standing commitment to open access. Public domain works within the collection can be downloaded and used for any purpose free of charge under the Center's terms of use, wherever you are in the world. The Center also makes freely available its collections data, which is published in both human and machine-readable form, through our online collections catalogue and XML and RDF metadata.

Virgin and Child

Virgin and Child 1825

William Blake (1757–1827)

Yale Center for British Art

Mineral Objects

Mineral Objects 1935

Paul Nash (1889–1946)

Yale Center for British Art

This partnership also provides an immediate and valuable opportunity to reunite digitally works at Yale with related paintings in public ownership in the United Kingdom. Now embedded in within an even larger collection of paintings and sculpture through the Art UK portal, it is hoped that this collaboration will help new audiences discover and enjoy the Center's collections, as well as leading to new insights and revelations into the collection. The Center eagerly anticipates discussion of its collection within Art UK's 'Art Detective' forum and welcomes the expertise of others to shed light on questions of attribution, sitter-identity and the location of the innumerable landscapes and buildings depicted in the paintings collection.

Matthew Hargraves, Chief Curator of Art Collections and Edward Town, Head of Collections Information and Access and Assistant Curator of Early Modern Art