Art treasures which you own

Daily Echo: Claude Monet's The Church At Vetheuil. Claude Monet's The Church At Vetheuil.

MOODY seascapes by Montague Dawson, bustling industrial scenes by Lowry and beautiful impressionist paintings by Monet and Renoir sit alongside unknown works by obscure local artists.

Vibrant images of Southampton docks and Spitfires over the Solent rub shoulders with striking abstracts, views of Venice and breathtaking portraits of international importance.

But these beautiful oil paintings are not the spoils of a fancy London gallery. These artistic riches are on our very own doorsteps.

In fact we own them - all 4,500 of them.

Which makes it all the more surprising that most of us are not even aware of the collection's existence much less set eyes on the works.

Some of the paintings - as you might expect - hang proudly in Southampton City Art Gallery or in museums around the city for all to see.

To read more of this story and see the stunning art work, don't miss today's Daily Echo.

But others are in far more surprising and less accessible locations - a welcome splash of colour in a children's ward perhaps, a cheerful distraction in a bleak M25 conference centre or a decorative addition to the mayor's private parlour.

Few of us would know where to find these hidden gems and even if we tracked them down some are tucked away in forbidden Civic Centre corridors and private rooms.

Until now.

For the first time, all publicly-owned oil paintings in Southampton and the Isle of Wight have been gathered into a lavish catalogue, launched this week for the public to buy.

"The public own a fantastic amount of oil paintings - more than 150,000," said Andy Ellis, director of the Public Catalogue Foundation, which produced the catalogue.

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