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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.

‘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.

Eileen Agar’s painting ‘Guardian of Memories’

Eileen Agar’s painting ‘Guardian of Memories’, features in ‘British Surrealism’, at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich, from 26 February – 26 May 2020

Job Vacancies

Current vacancies at the Government Art Collection are advertised here

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

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.

#keenonWien

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.

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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.

Portraiture

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.

Respite for the Bean-counters at the Treasury

Find out why Bob and Roberta Smith's painting, 'Peas are the New Beans', raised a smile among the bean-counters at HM Treasury.

A Tale of Seven Cities

Take a journey around the world, learn about the contexts in which our works are displayed and understand the deep connections they establish between Britain and other countries.

Licensing Images

The Government Art Collection has a substantial library of images of the Collection and these are available for commercial reproduction, educational or personal use.

On Show

Artwork loans to public exhibitions are currently on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Robson Orr TenTen Award 2019

Leading British artist announced as the second recipient of the Robson Orr TenTen Award. Find out more about this annual print commission, the awardee and the story of the work.

Partnership Projects

The Government Art Collection is committed to working with different partners and to finding new ways to reach wider audiences.

A Working Collection

Works from the Collection are regularly on the move. Find out what’s needed to make this happen and the job mission of the artworks themselves