Jigsaw fan? UK gallery shares digital puzzles of artworks in its collection

The Cooper Gallery shares daily online challenges where visitors must solve a jigsaw in the quickest time

Digital jigsaw of  ‘Lady Holding a Book’ by I Sabatini. Cooper Gallery
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As people around the world continue to stay at home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many are turning to puzzles to pass the time. A gallery in England is taking part in this trend by sharing digital jigsaws of its collection for people to complete online.

The Cooper Gallery in Barnsley has created daily and weekly online challenges in which people race to solve the puzzles in the shortest possible time. The challenges are shared on social media, specifically Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #MuseumJigsaws.

The puzzles can be pieced together without signing up, but those who do, stand a chance of having their username listed in the top 10 ranking underneath each challenge.

Ranging in complexity, some jigsaws comprise 40 to 80 pieces. They have been drawn from gallery’s collection of 17th to 20th century paintings, which include works by JMW Turner. Of the 400 works in the gallery’s inventory, about 13 paintings have been transformed into jigsaws so far.

Located in South Yorkshire, the gallery and the building it is housed in have a long history. The structure was originally built in 1769, and was used as a school. After the school relocated, art collector Samuel Joshua Cooper bought the building and converted it to a gallery in 1914 to display his 200 paintings, which he purchased during travels around Europe.

Digital jigsaw of 'The Reception of Saint Bavo, the Patron Saint of Ghent' by the school of Peter Paul Rubens. Courtesy Cooper Gallery

During the Second World War, the gallery became an extension of the town’s hospital and was used as an outpatient clinic and rehabilitation ward, before returning to its role as an arts centre in 1977.

As the gallery continues to share its collection via digital puzzles, there are plans to host an online competition in May.

The Cooper Gallery Jigsaw Challenge can be found at cooper-gallery.com