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The Show Windows: Reflections

This November, as part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, the Government Art Collection is helping transform Coventry city centre's shop windows into a public museum.


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Robson Orr TenTen Award 2021

This year, Lubaina Himid CBE has been awarded the Robson Orr TenTen Award 2021 for her print commission Old Boat, New Weather.

A Closer Look: Charity Children in the Strand on 7 July 1713

Curator Laura Popoviciu takes a closer look at George Vertue's 18th-century print that celebrates the Peace of Utrecht.

Lucian Freud’s Welsh Landscape

In 2008, Lucian Freud came to the headquarters of the Government Art Collection to revisit his work Welsh Landscape, painted between 1939 and 1940.

Art X-UK Acquisitions

Over 2020 the Government Art Collection collected new works by 45 visual artists from across the UK, celebrating and supporting the diversity of creativity across the Union.

For ages 14 and up

Created for young people (14+) and adults, each of our learning resources aims to inspire conversations between family or friends, either digitally or in-person.

For younger ages and families

ArtSpark is a series of learning resources that bring you closer to artworks in the Collection.

Body, Mind and Soul: the Making of Lord Byron

On the bicentennial of Greece’s 1821 Revolution and War of Independence, discover Lord Byron through a new lens. Understand the power of his image and his influence through six related works of art and letters from the Government Art Collection and Newstead Abbey.

Robson Orr TenTen Award 2020

Yinka Shonibare CBE has been awarded the Robson Orr TenTen Award 2020. His new commission 'Hibiscus and the Rose' was celebrated at a virtual launch in October 2020.

Voices on Art

Voices on Art is a space to share individual viewpoints and reflections on works of art from the Collection.

Follow The Luck of Eden Hall

Explore the artworks throughout the Residence of the British High Commissioner to Singapore

‘Reframing the Past’ for the Future

'Reframing the Past', an exhibition curated in the viewing space of the Government Art Collection to be explored online as a 3D digital model.

The Adventures of a Time-Traveller: Researching the Historical Collection

What's involved in being a curator at the Government Art Collection? Join our pre-1900 Curator on a journey through time and space.

There’s No Such Word as Impossible: Placing Art on Any Wall

Two decades at the Government Art Collection: stories from behind-the-scenes with our Technical Manager.


Spoliation of works of art during the Holocaust and World War II period

A Meeting of Cultures

A new installation of art at the British Embassy in Tehran evokes the early days of the Embassy, and is a reminder of the longstanding relationship between Britain and Iran.

Coming Home

The British Ambassador's Residence in Budapest, built in 1925, was originally home to Hanna Hódosi and her husband Tibor Scitovszky. Find out why this became significant for the Collection.

‘A Canvas to Depict the Special Relationship’

Works from the Collection are particularly well represented in New York City. Find out what the portrait in this picture tells us about Britain’s entangled history with the United States.

Ways of Seeing

Find out more about Ways of Seeing, an exciting collaboration in 2019 between the Government Art Collection and Waltham Forest, the first London Borough of Culture.


The British Ambassador to Austria takes you on a guided tour of the Residence in Vienna to tell its fascinating story and why he is so #keenonWien.

Conversations with History

A glimpse of diplomatic relations between the UK and France in the 19th century, through a selection of works from the Collection, installed at the British Ambassador's Residence in Paris.

The Robson Orr TenTen Award

This annual print commission is awarded to an outstanding British artist every year, over ten years, with the support of philanthropists Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr.

Curating the Contemporary Display for the Paris Embassy

The display of contemporary art in the Glazed Galleries of the British Residence in Paris changes each time a new Ambassador takes up post. Find out what is needed to curate this space from our Deputy Director and Senior Curator.

Collecting Stories about Art

The Modern and Contemporary Curator talks about the art of uncovering stories hidden within the Government Art Collection.

A Day in the Life of a Senior Collection Coordinator

Ever wondered what the role of a Senior Collection Coordinator is all about? Discover more about a typical day with a member of our team.

Behind the Image: Impromptu Photo-Booths and a Studio on the Go

The Digital Media and Photography Manager takes us behind-the-scenes and into the photography studio where he tells us what he's after, when he documents work for the Government Art Collection.

From Bonn to Berlin: the Travels of an Embassy

The British Embassy in Germany moved three times in the last century, before returning to the site of the first British Embassy established in 1876. This is the story of those moves and a peek at the art in those embassies.

How to Make an Entrance: Rock, Paper, Scissors ?

The British Ambassador's Residence in Beijing portrays a modern, sustainable and innovative Britain. Find out how the art on display echoes these values.

Curious Facts

Discover interesting and quirky facts about artworks within the Collection.

Robson Orr TenTen Award 2018

A new and exciting 10-year partnership scheme was launched in 2018. Read on to find out more about it and who was the first artist to receive the inaugural award.

The Art of Diplomacy

An old map of Romania and a fire-damaged print of London: Britain's Head of Soft Power, who also served as Ambassador to Romania, speaks with our historical curator about the links between art and diplomacy.

Collecting for the Future

Adapting and reflecting the world around it, the ambition of the Collection is to continue to challenge and acknowledge its historical roots. New acquisitions are considered by subject, theme or an artist’s personal experience, all of which resonate with different aspects of contemporary British society

A New Identity to Meet the World

Moving away from its imperial past and engaging with a new postwar world order, Britain began building and shaping a new identity at home and abroad.


From its informal foundation by ministerial memo back in 1899, historical portraits formed some of the first purchases of the Collection and they continue to be acquired today.

A Showcase for Art

Keen to champion Britain’s position in the world, Margaret Thatcher saw the potential of 10 Downing Street as a place to showcase art, and took an active interest in new displays.

Changing Art for a Changing Britain

Find out how the mood of post-war Britain impacted on the Collection and how it changed the art displayed on the walls of Government offices.

Battlefields of Britain

During the Second World War, the funding and provision of art for government buildings and embassies was paused. A small number of works were lost, damaged or destroyed as a result of the hostilities, with one exception.

Growing the Collection

By the 1930s, diplomats and officials had become accustomed to working alongside historical artworks from the Collection. It was clear that the art had an impact on how the embassy buildings were experienced by visitors.

A New Demand for Art

Social changes after the First World War meant an unexpected and new demand for art in Britain's embassy buildings.

From Decoration to Diplomacy

Images of British monarchs and famous figures brought a sense of stature to entrance halls and state rooms and raised an awareness of the powerful cultural diplomatic role that art could play.

The Origins of the Collection

The Government Art Collection dates back to 1899 when a few portraits and landscapes were bought as an economical way of sprucing up tired-looking government rooms in Whitehall.

A Very Big Bean: the Collection in Japan

Between 2012 and 2016, the Collection worked with the British Ambassador to Japan on new displays of art for Tokyo. The former Ambassador reflects on the role that art played in diplomacy.