Something that almost slipped under our radar recently was the announcement that the BBC – with the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) – has put all of the National Museums of Liverpool’s (NML) paintings collections online.

That means a variety of works from the Lady Lever Art Gallery, the Walker Art Gallery, Sudley House, The Museum of Liverpool, the International Slavery Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, and the UK Border Agency National Museum.

It’s an awesome collection of works that covers Old Masters, pre-Raphaelites, post-war art and loads of leftfield stuff from a diverse range of galleries and institutions.

Already online is stuff from Anfield Crematorium, Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, Merseyside Police Headquarters, the Pilkington Glass Collection, the Philharmonic, Tate Liverpool, Victoria Gallery & Museum, the museums and hospitals of Liverpool and art from further afield; from the Wirral and Southport.

The more recognisable paintings from NML include Cézanne, Degas, Freud, Gainsborough, Monet, Rembrandt and Rubens – it’s a useful reminder that Liverpool houses something on an embarrassment of riches in its (free) galleries around the city.

Recent walks around Sudley House, Maritime Museum, Walker Gallery and particularly the Lady Lever Gallery evince just what a treasure trove there is in Liverpool. Now you don’t even have the excuse of a lost bus pass or a flat tyre – you can browse thousands of works of art from the comfort of… well, take your pick. Your arm chair, your bed, your bath, Leaf, Fact, a library – wherever you can get online.

Pictured above is just one example that caught our eye – the half-finished Liverpool Cathedral looming above St James’ Cemetary like some great headless beast.

The BBC and PCF are asking for the public’s help in identifying paintings and pictures by tagging elements of them online – for the benefit of other users. A fine endeavour, for our money.

So why not head over to the BBC site and while away a couple of hours. Or better still, go and see the originals. For free. A couple of miles from where you live.

Here’s the Merseyside section of Your Paintings

Liverpool Cathedral by Eric Harold Macbeth Robertson is copyright of National Museums Liverpool

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