The Tate is inviting audiences to help understand the writing in artists’ letters, diaries and sketchbooks it has been announced.

Anyone who visits https://anno.tate.org.uk can be the first person to discover stories and secrets behind great British artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Francis Bacon and Walter Sickert by using Tate and Zooniverse’s new transcription tool.

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Letter from Paul Nash to Margaret Nash 4 July 1913. © Tate Image.

Anno Tate features over 17,000 handwritten documents from the Tate archive. Visitors can log on and type anything from Duncan Bell’s letters to Vanessa Bell to the notes in Donald Rodney’s sketchbooks.

Once the texts have been verified by Tate’s Archivists, the official transcripts will then be available on Tate’s website alongside the original material – making them available for a more global audience, giving visitors a new way to explore art history through the words and notes of the artists that they admire.

Tate is the first art gallery to work alongside Zooniverse, led by the University of Oxford, to crowdsource text transcriptions of handwritten documents in this way.

The materials were recently digitalised as part of the Archives and Access Project, which was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of £2 million. The project draws on the Tate Archive and brings it together online with the Tate’s art collection, giving everyone an opportunity to access to original materials relating to British art.

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