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

New works also recognise and encourage new perspectives on Britain’s imperial legacy and its historical colonial entanglements abroad.

An ice-cream van with a queue of holidaymakers. On top of the van is a sign in the shape of a tiger. The image is printed over imagery derived from the British £10 banknote.

Chila Kumari Singh Burman,BENGAL TIGER VAN – Raspberry Ripples, Chila’s Dad selling ice-cream on Freshfield Beach, Merseyside 1976, 2018 © Chila Kumari Singh Burman

For a national collection that has shifted from its original ‘decorative’ purpose in the 19th century to a more tangible, carefully curated approach, the responsibility lies today in acknowledging and re-addressing experiences of artists, and subjects represented in their work, that were previously absent in the Collection. New stories about British history and art continue to unfold, revealed through the eyes and voices of artists whose works allow the Collection to create compelling and stimulating displays to engage audiences around the world.