It’s hard to believe now, but once upon a time, one of the most honourable things to do was to leave things to the nation in your will. The great and the good would bequeath their riches, their houses and their precious artefacts to us. You and me. And anybody else whoever visits these shores for that matter.

What that means is that we are now collectively, through our museums and gallery spaces,  the custodians of arguably the finest collection of oil paintings anywhere in the world. But where are they all?

The BBC set out, with a charity called the Public Catalogue Foundation, to find them, list them and, if possible, display them online.

So now you can browse though the collection, estimated at more than 200,000 pieces (but they’re only half way through) and find out where you can see the paintings in the flesh.

To say this site is epic doesn’t really do it justice.

See if you’re favorite artists are online at

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