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Painting of Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford, 1710. A version without the frame has been uploaded, though in this case the frame is minimal and functional, so unlikely to introduce doubt as to copyright of the whole photograph.


Main category: Category:Collections of the Royal Museums Greenwich

The Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) website is a catalogue of the museum group's collections, many with photographs. The only photographs that can be considered safely public domain for Wikimedia Commons are those that are public domain by age and are of two dimensional works, so that there is no doubt that the process of taking a photograph is intended as a faithful reproduction of the two dimensional work and has no new copyright of itself.

An example search is!csearch;authority=subject-90232;browseBy=collection, which is a search for charts and maps.

The relevant categories on the RMG site which were considered safe to upload as almost all objects are two dimensional works: Fine art, Charts and maps, Oil paintings, Historic Photographs, Flags and Ship plans.


Filenames are formatted as:

File:<title> RMG <image id>.(jpg|tiff|png)

For all uploads the credit/permission template of {{Royal Museums Greenwich}} is added.

Where the RMG provided author name matches an existing creator template, this has been added to the image page.

Scans of ship plans include some extremely high resolution images. For convenience these have been losslessly transcoded as PNG format rather than TIFF, which has resulted in significantly smaller file sizes.


Imperial German naval ensign from SMS 'Moltke' (1912).

As the RMG website has no death dates identified for artists, filtering is limited to creation date. This is not ideal and a couple of artists have been filtered out once their death dates were calculated as being within the last 70 years. Initially uploads were limited to 19th century works, but after further review of the website content, it was found that there would be a low number of exceptions needed if the date limit were raised.

The maximum allowed date has been chosen at 1922 for paintings, maps and drawings. The license applied is then {{PD-old-100-1923}} or {{PD-old-80-1923}} if the year > 1916. In addition {{PD-Art}} applies, which explains to the reuser why the photograph introduces no new copyright as it is a faithful reproduction of a public domain two dimensional work.

For flags the maximum date has been set at 1946. For these works where year > 1922, the licenses {{PD-old-70}} and {{PD-US-no notice}} apply.


X-ray composite of a 1752 painting of Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel


Within the collection of maps and charts, there are a number of spherical atlases. Though in many cases these are well over 100 years old, and the work is clearly public domain, the photographs can be considered to be of three dimensional objects and there may be a valid claim of copyright by the photographer. These have been filtered out manually and speedy deleted.

Oil paintingsEdit


A significant proportion of uploaded oil paintings, Category:Oil paintings of the Royal Museums Greenwich, have been photographed with their frames. Though the frame may be safely considered a public domain work by age, depending on the complexity of the frame, there may be doubts that the whole photograph can be justified using the rationale that the intention is to faithfully reproduce the two dimensional oil painting. Where these doubts are raised the image should be cropped down to remove the frame.


In many cases the back of the oil painting has been photographed as part of the record. These may be of interest due to notes, identification or signatures by the artist or later collectors and archivists. As with the front of the painting, where the photograph is clearly a faithful reproduction of the two dimensional back, then {{PD-Art}} or {{PD-Scan}} applies. In some cases there is no clear long term educational value to host the photograph on Wikimedia Commons and deletion may be appropriate under COM:Scope grounds.

X-Ray photographs

The convention, based on the logic of USCO compendium 924.3(D), is that images created using non-visual spectra of two dimensional works are considered to be either faithful reproductions of the two dimensional artwork or to be equivalent to mechanical scans like using a photocopier. The same licenses as the visual spectra have been applied as a default. Several past discussions about X-ray photograph copyright exist on Wikimedia Commons, however these have mostly been about medical photography and to date no UK legal cases have been identified to establish any precedent for X-ray photographs of oil paintings. Refer to m:Wikilegal/Copyright of Medical Imaging.

Reference deletion requestsEdit

  1. Commons:Deletion requests/File:Spanish battleship Espana RMG PU6329.jpg, establishing Oscar Parkes death date of 1958 and that his works during WW1 can be considered public domain. However from the time of this DR, RMG uploads were filtered against this author.
  2. Commons:Deletion requests/undefinedincategory:"Oil paintings of the Royal Museums Greenwich" insource:"John Everett", John Everett died in 1949, so his works are public domain in 2020, at which time the uploads may be undeleted.