The vision of the Irish Georgian Society is to conserve, protect and foster a keen interest and a respect for Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts. These aims are achieved through its scholarly and conservation education programmes, through its support of conservation projects and planning issues, and vitally, through its members and their activities.

Call for documentary watercolours (1750 to 1900)


Posted by IGS


Harbor before Fortified Town, Marseille, 1760–1850, possibly by William Marlow. Art Institute of Chicago (CC0 1.0) The curious vessel on the right is a common dredger barge.

A vast heritage of documentary images, the long unrecognised and unseen gift to us from our 18th and 19th Century forbears, exists in the global watercolour collection. Importantly, the period covered (1750-1900) includes the end of the agrarian era in the West and the whole of the first Industrial Revolution.

Created in colour by professionals as well as amateurs (the latter deplorably underestimated), with each image normally located and dated, for all its unevenness these watercolours constitute an astonishingly well-observed and faithful visual record.

This record is also unique and irreplaceable. It provides us today with accurate, reliable and frequently essential information for the conservation and restoration of our natural and man-made environments.

The Watercolour World, a registered charity, brings together on a single geographically-indexed website, ( www.watercolourworld.org) public and private documentary watercolour collections from around the world. Collating and indexing these images and making them available to view by the public is a profoundly important advance in our visual access to our past.

This resource remains very widely distributed and largely hidden in public and private collections. All of such collections, from the largest to the smallest, are of importance and value to The Watercolour World project. If you own documentary watercolours painted between 1750 and 1900, or wish to connect us with any public or private owner who does, in the first instance please contact: enquiries@watercolourworld.org. We can help with the digitisation of all collections, small and large.