M@Victorian Instagram: Watercolour World Reveals London Before The Camera
Cows in Hyde Park. A hill of dust in King's Cross. The Houses of Parliament on Fire. These and many other paintings are now searchable on The Watercolour World website.
The new site brings together 80,000 images from around the world, including thousands from London. Below, we've selected a handful showing familiar parts of the capital as you've probably never seen them before.
The Watercolour World brings together images from private and public collections. According to the charity which runs the site:
Before the invention of the portable camera, most accurate visual records of the world were made in watercolour. While a huge number of these images still exist, they are fragile, inaccessible, and are increasingly being lost. There is an urgent need to save them and to make them available to a wider public.
And they've done a good job. This vast motherlode of little-seen images has been expertly tamed. The search engine is excellent, most images are geolocated, and annotations are expertly researched. We could browse this thing all day.
Have a play, and let us know in the comments if you make any surprising discoveries.
Note to pedants: Yes, we know that not all of these images are 'Victorian'. But, you know, '18th and 19th century Instagram' doesn't make for a pleasing headline.