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A feeling for paintings

Eight of the 10 paintings shortlisted for Britain's Greatest Painting, a recent BBC Radio 4National Gallery poll, are accessible to blind and partially-sighted people, including the final winner, The Fighting Temeraire, by JMW Turner.

The Living Paintings charity has adapted the works into raised images, or "feely pictures", which allow a blind person to "see" with their fingers.

An accompanying audio cassette gives a detailed description of the work and background, together with historical information. Many European masterpieces from the past five centuries have been given this "touch and sound" treatment. They are distributed to Living Paintings library members via a free postal service.

The other seven adapted paintings are: Jan van Eyck's The Arnolfini Portrait; Piero Della Francesca's The Baptism of Christ; Sir Henry Raeburn's The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch; John Constable's The Hay Wain; Edouard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Berg re; Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers; and David Hockney's Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy.

People with sight or hearing impairments can also enjoy artworks in situ at The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London. It offers free art through words sessions for visitors with a visual impairment on the last Saturday of each month and monthly British Sign Language-interpreted events.

Future projects planned by the neighbouring National Portrait Gallery include working with the Royal National Institute for the Blind to involve visually-impaired people in a visual arts and music project. The current "Look at Me" exhibition, running until March 19, features self-portraits created by members of community and special needs groups during workshops with artists across the UK.Living Paintings, tel 01635 299771www.livingpaintings.org National Gallery, tel 020 7747 2885 (includes typetalk)www.nationalgallery.org.uk National Portrait Gallery, tel 020 7306 0055; www.npg.org.uk

PICK OF THE MONTH

IN TOUCH, Britain's greatest paintings can now be enjoyed by people with sight impairment

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