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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 07:52 GMT 08:52 UK
Gallery visitors turn art experts
Read what the labels that hang next to some of the exhibits at Tate Britain say.

Visitors to Tate Britain who are baffled by official descriptions of works of art are being invited to write their own captions.

The best captions will be displayed beside works by artists such as Blake and Turner on the walls of the gallery.

Director Stephen Deuchar said he was particularly keen to hear contributions from people who might know more about the subject matter than the experts.

Visitors to the Tate website can also submit their captions online.

Mr Deuchar said: "This initiative gives us an opportunity to reflect the clear passion felt by our visitors, some of whom make pilgrimages to see the icons in the BP British Art Displays, while complementing the scholarly texts that accompany the works.

"I'm looking forward to reading the thoughts and ideas of our visitors."

The first selection of the submissions will be placed alongside the works for the launch of British Art Week, supported by BP, on 20 September.

Tate Britain holds the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day and contains important work by all the great masters of British art including Hogarth, Stubbs, Bacon, Constable and the Pre-Raphaelites.

A consistently refreshed series of rooms also displays some of the best in British contemporary art.

Themed rooms

A spokeswoman for the Tate said they would particularly like to hear from visitors who have a special interest in the subject matter of some of the works, such as music, fashion, botany, theology or engineering.

Those who live near or who have visited a place shown in one of the landscapes are also encouraged to submit their own label.

The BP British Art Displays for 2005 include a range of new displays reflecting the variety of British art in the Tate collection.

Along with the permanent major displays given to John Constable and JMW Turner there are solo displays devoted to the art of Francis Bacon and Patrick Caulfield, among others.

New themed rooms include those devoted to medieval stained glass fragments; a special two-room display exploring British national identity and a room dedicated to influential masters of caricature such as James Gillray.

BBC News Online users sent in their own suggestions for captions.

1) Badly drawn Emin. 2) I will master these chopsticks. 3) Where's Lassie when you need him?
Lisa Clarke, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

1) So frail, she stands; she cowers. But, yet, she stands. 2) For so little that we have, still we may own the hand of God. 3) We are become a thing, and that thing is the machine whose name is War.
Alan, Bloomington, Illinois USA

3) Protecting our lives at the expense of loosing humanity.
Sanketh, Dallas USA

1) Congratulations, you are the 10,000 person to say "I could have done that". Now move on to the next piece.
Alex, Vancouver, Canada

2) The figure measures an arc with a symbol of choice, of good and evil. He has inscribed an arc, which facing downwards may represent empty spirituality and loss. He has also drawn a triangle which may represent any number of trinities, including the Holy Christian Trinity. He is naked as he presents his true self and may be suggestive of Adam. The drawing is on pure white fabric which forms a spiral, representative of pent energy. To enhance the concept of choice between two opposite the painting is largely divided diagonally into two portions, one of light and one of dark, one decorated and one empty.
Lucy, Reading

2) The universal law of getting older - even Isaac Newton has to sit on the bed to put his thong on.
KP, Reading, UK

1)My parents sent me to art school and all I got were delusions of grandeur.
Tyson Bennett, Pitmedden, Aberdeenshire

2) Was supposed to be titled "Newton the Geek God" but Blake misread it.
Paul, Washington DC

The dimorphism of masculine and feminine phallic imagery suggests the frustrated aspirations of the artist. Disappointment and ecstacy, emptiness and self-consciousness hang from the Burnhamesque character. The viewer is invited to join the figure in the highlight of their day.
SF, Northumberland

1) Consternation 2) Constipation 3) Confrontation Gallery title for the whole show - who got conned into buying these?
Peter Nixon, middlesbrough, uk

1) The Emin picture reminds me of the soul less life we live in this country. I would call it Wash time, Gulag Britain. 2) Blake really cunjures up the concept of looking for the meaning of life. I would caption it : LOST. 3) Bearing in mind the current troubles we tend to forget that the horror of the trenches can be visited on the individual any where any time. I think it is time to use this picture with a touch of Irony: Tea time at the White house.
Tony, Welling Kent

2) Modern eyes see this picture in a different way to that intended by the artist. This is not a picture of a powerful man working on his profound theories - Blake intended it to demonstrate Newton circumscribing the world with a pair of compasses, in contrast to the reality to which God made no limits.
Geoff Brock, Wimbledon, London

1) Tracey uses a line figure, lost in a bleak white world of indifference. The figure is offset to show the expanse of nothing, and uses simple lines to show her empty life. Water cleans (or tries to clean) all the unpleasantness in her life away. But can we clean our soul? And if we do, will we fade into the background?

2) The technical mastery in this piece is astounding and the almost abstract quality of the rocks is ahead of its time. But it¿s man's search for knowledge through science that holds this piece. But in using science, are we turning our back on the organic world?

3) The angular world that these people inhabit, the sharp cutting reality of war that juts into the people. Affecting their composition and changing their and our perception of life.
Simon, Bristol

1) A person somewhat ajar within themself happens upon a compassionate sunflower, who droops to shower mother nature's warmth upon them.

2) From our earliest beginnings, the perpetual desire to explore, define and resolve is the human condition.

3) The slightly ajar, half visioned cross of Christ at the lower left of the scene in relation to the military bleakness of the situation at hand, suggests how far from His desire we have placed ourselves.
Grant Hanson, Brea, California, USA

1) Good use of space to emphasise a sense of loneliness. With the figure looking outwards over her shoulder, you also begin to gain a sense of sadness within the simplicity of the form.
Lee, Winchester, Hampshire

2) Despite being welded into a rock, Newton still found time to play with his Spirograph

3) Busted¿s new album cover was a bold departure¿
Nick Pettigrew, London

1) Tracy's sunflower didn't impress the Blue Peter Judges

2) William was always leaving his left foot under the chair and then forgetting where he'd put it.

3)Nevvy could never get the binoculars at the seaside to work properly.
Steve P, Wakefield, Yorkshire

1) Hanging is too good for it.
Kenneth, Farnham

2) With this painting, Blake juxtaposes two characterisations of Newton: one embodying beauty, pride and perfection, and the other a stiff demeanour, pigheaded awkwardness and a tinge of ridicule.
Anna, Düsseldorf, Germany

1) Exhibit removed for cleaning. Temporarily replaced by a copy drawn by Hannah, age 3, during her school outing to the gallery.
Dave, Horsham, UK

1)'The Emperor Takes a Shower Before Putting on His New Clothes'.
Fran, Southsea, UK

1) Damn this microphone. 2) Which fool put superglue on this map? 3) Frank. Do you want two sugars in that?
Mick Roberts, Blackpool, England

1) The artist crosses disciplines into higher maths with her comment on 'string theory' 2) The naturist confectioner first visualises the Toblerone. 3) Aaargh! We're about to become subjects in one of Nevinson's bloody awful paintings!
Stuart Martinson, Neath

1) The showers at Glastonbury were once again lacking 2) So, I should be able to dash straight down the High Street, take a 90 degree left onto Church Street, and be home before anyone notices I've lost my clothes 3) Pudborough Council were determined to stop the streakers running down the High Street.
Lea, Leicester

2) Despite being severely constipated, Newton figured he could work it out with a compass.
Ian Tresman, Derby, UK

1) Sad Shower in New York, 1995, Tracey Emin: An intense drawing, the artistry of which is sadly overshadowed by the theft from my 6-year-old nephew's primary school of a similar, though more mature, piece of work, on the morning before Parents' Evening. Some suspect it was a girl in another class who was jealous as her own painting of a flower outside a house had been laughed at because she'd coloured over the lines.
Roy Sharp - Proud pleb and philistine, Manchester, UK

1) MUST get a power shower 2) Newton makes a few measurements for his new frock 3) "What a bizarre cloud formation!"
Tim Gillett, Cambridge UK

1) Using her expensive education, over intellectualised outlook and with substantial public funding, the artist perfectly produces an image from the "one minute sketch any bleedin' person could do" movement.
Richard, Lincoln, UK

1) 10 year old Tracey illustrates her passion for middle distance running with this study of David Bedford taking a post-race shower. Although worthy of some praise, this work was rejected by Tony Hart for inclusion in "The Gallery"
Mark, Worthing, England

2) Despite hours of futile calculations, Martin could not work out where his so called mates had sent him after his stag night" 3) "This'll teach those pesky kids to scrump apples in my garden"
Andy Eastham, Swindon UK

In this picture of a person taking a shower, the left arm is missing. Blake's Newton: Notice the old man's face on the young man's body. La Mitrailleuse: Under the machine gunner's elbow, a pale face looks upwards, half obscured by the shadow; it's eyes like that of his living counterparts also darkened.
Lawrence Pendred, London UK

Newton has the thought "...therefore I need 9.4 inches toilet paper, folded once."
Robin, Blackburn, Lancashire

1) New York Rain 2) Where is that damn apple? 3) Welcome to America. Passport, please.
Ian McGhee, UK

"Emin uses a notepad, biro and complete lack of skill in this small and simple self portrait of her washing away the guilt for having been paid enough money to feed a starving family in the third world for this piece of ..........."
A-M, London

1) Weeping Sunflower 2) Newton, circa and trianga 3) Steven Spieberg's new black and white war film (red trousers)
David Lawrence, Bern, Switzerland.

Newton: In a satirical visual aside the arist is saying that, despite being a total smartypants, Newton hasn't considered the benefits of using a table.
Dave Williams, Prudhoe, UK

2) Now just how much toilet paper did that Labrador run away with?
Phil Angus, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

1) Here Tracey bravely explores the depths of the human psyche. Through an exploration of the familiar temple of the shower, she captures the soul-destroying feeling of knowing you need to de-scale your rose again.
Matt London, Stirling

(As appears to the eye of a mythology expert.) 1) 'Loki's Imprisonment, eternally tormented by venom from serpent' 2) 'Prometheus the Titan, trying to discover fire' 3) 'Ragnarok'
Barnaby Alsop, Trowbridge, wiltshire

1) In this childish scribble Emin draws a figure, possibly herself, taking a shower - badly. The picture displays little apart from laziness and a lack of technical ability.
James, London

1) D- v.Poor. See me after class.
Howard, London, UK

3) Later editions of Tin-Tin were tarred by Herge's obsession with black.
Chris, Bristol

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27 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
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17 May 04  |  Entertainment
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12 Feb 04  |  Entertainment
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20 Jan 04  |  Entertainment

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