A recent trip to Nottingham Castle inspired this rant, which I have also blogged about if you can stomach reading a lengthy and medieval-history-obsessed review *grin*
Okay my rant is this - museums and art galleries only selling postcards of their more popular work and neglecting the more obscure works, which, surprise surprise are not possible to find anywhere else. And even worse selling postcards of artworks that are not even in their collections and stocking these postcards and taking up space for artworks which are in their collections and are not even represented on a postcard. Picture the scene - you wander around a collection of artworks, one in particular catches your eye and you think it will be nice to have a small memento of it. Since it is by an obscure artist or of local relevance there is no chance in hell that you will be able to find it in a book or even on the Internet except with extreme patience and looking through potentially reams of images. You would expect (quite rightly) that the museum or art gallery has a role to play here in enabling visitors to have copies of aforesaid obscure artworks because they know that it will drive them mad trying to find a copy anywhere else. Not that a postcard is necessary for successful living but it is good to have interesting and inspiring artworks either at home or in the office (and in the cold stark walls of my office postcards are the only thing that livens it up). However imagine when you get to the shop to find a copy of the painting that so captured your eye only to find postcards of paintings that DO NOT EVEN BELONG TO THE GALLERY masquerading as souvenirs!!! It is not right or proper. Okay okay there are sound commercial reasons for catering for conventional tastes but you can buy pictures of the Pre-Raphelites anywhere and everywhere! It's not everywhere that I am going to be able to get a copy of Judith holding Holofene's head as shown in Nottingham art gallery. The same thing happened in the National Portrait Gallery when I had a good long list of about 6 postcards to find and I could not find any of them because the shelves were filled with postcards of Kate Moss and the Queen! The same Kate Moss and the Queen who appear in countless magazines and newspapers, we can hardly move for pictures of these two and yet the NPG sees fit to produce even more of their likenesses to add to the Kate Moss and Queen mountain we already have. I managed to walk round the entire gallery as well without having to encounter any images of these over-hyped personages too.
So this is a plea to museums and art galleries everywhere. Please can you make postcards of your more obscure works as well as your more popular works. I guess there will be the usual spiel about economics yadda yadda but I am sure I am not the only person who doesn't want pictures of just the famous stuff. And please if museums and galleries have to sell stuff that does not belong in their collections can they hide it in a special section so I don't see it and get annoyed because there is more about the Pre-Raphelites in a museum which has no Pre-Raphelites FROM WHAT I COULD SEE. Maybe I missed them because I was too busy looking for what was unusual and special. Sorry.