While I was surfing the web I came across a fantastic UK website choc full of visual arts and design collections, VADS: an online visual arts resource. Wow. Designed as an educational resource it is a compendium of collections owned by various educational institutions. I'm still trawling through the thousands and thousands of images, but some of my early favourite collections are:
The British Library's Russian Visual Arts, 1814 - 1909 collection.
Zhar-ptitsa’ by Polenova, Elena Dmitrievna, (1850-1898)
I'm also loving two of the London College of Fashion's collections, firstly the Woolmark collection.
Hardie Amies, 1956.
Secondly, the awesome Paper Patterns collection.
Next I plan on staring open mouthed at the loveliness in the Central St Martins Museum & Study collection, the The Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (Medieval Stained Glass in Great Britain) collection and the Charles Rennie Macintosh's Northern Italian Sketchbook collection. To name just a few...