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Find out why art can be useful in international diplomacy, and the Collection’s role in strengthening Britain’s soft power
The role of the Advisory Committee is to approve the acquisition and commission of works of art and to advise on the policy and stewardship of the Collection. See who the current members are.
The GAC display at the Residence ties together our efforts of portraying a modern, sustainable and innovative Britain, whilst linking to key historical events and individuals.
Two decades at the GAC: stories from behind-the-scenes as told by Chris Christophorou, Technical Manager
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.
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.
Current vacancies at the Government Art Collection are advertised here
An old map of Romania and a fire-damaged print of London: Britain's Head of Soft Power, recently Ambassador to Romania speaks with our Bucharest-born curator about art and cultural diplomacy.
The current British Ambassador to Vienna, Leigh Turner, takes us on a guided tour of the Residence to tell its fascinating story (and why he’s so #keenonWien).
Works from the Collection are regularly on the move. Find out what’s needed to make this happen and the job mission of the art works themselves
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.
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A new installation of art at the British Embassy in Tehran reminds visitors of the early days of the Embassy, and the longstanding relationship between Britain and Iran.
Why the Government has an art collection, what it collects and why the Collection is spread across the world.
Eileen Agar’s painting ‘Guardian of Memories’, features in ‘British Surrealism’, at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich, from 26 February – 26 May 2020
Find out more about Ways of Seeing, our exciting collaboration this year with Waltham Forest, the first London Borough of Culture.
A glimpse of Europe in the 19th century, through a selection of works from the Collection, installed in the British Embassy, Paris.
Still Life with Artificial Flowers is an intricate print that evokes a snapshot of the artist’s mother’s front room in Birmingham. Hurvin Anderson graduated from Wimbledon School of Art in 1994 and his distinct painting style is informed both by British painters such as Leon Kossoff, Michael Andrews and David Hockney as well as a generation of Black British artists, Sonia Boyce, Eddie Chambers and Keith Piper.
Among the many aspects involved in being Deputy Director and Senior Curator at the Government Art Collection, Eliza Gluckman shares insight into one of her projects: curating the contemporary display in Paris
Ever wondered what having a role in Collection is all about. Discover more about a typical day with a member of our Collections team.
Tim Hitchens was Britain’s Ambassador to Japan from 2012–2016 and during that time, the Collection worked with him to curate new displays of art for the Embassy and Residence in Tokyo. In this interview from 2015, he reflects on the role that art played in diplomacy, on his watch.
What's involved in being a GAC historical curator? Dr Laura-Maria Popoviciu takes us on a journey through time and space.
Art is one way of remembering Britain’s long-standing historical relationships with other nations. As Britain shifted away from conflict to renegotiate its relationships with others in the postwar era, soft power and cultural diplomacy became increasingly important national and political expressions.
Images of British monarchs and famous figures, it was felt, brought a sense of stature to entrance halls and state rooms. The presence of works like these in embassies, started to raise an awareness of the powerful cultural diplomatic role that art could play.
Barbara Hepworth’s ‘Conoid, Sphere and Hollow II’ features in the first monographic exhibition in Paris dedicated to the leading British sculptor, opening at the Musée Rodin on 5 November 2019.
The 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.
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. One exception was Battlefields of Britain by Christopher R. W. Nevinson.
The mood of post-war Britain was reflected in some of the new works in the collection displayed in the 1950s and 1960s at 10 Downing Street.
Discover interesting and quirky facts about artworks within the Collection.
Our Digital Media & Photography Manager, Tony Harris, takes us behind-the-scenes for the careful process of photographing Lucy Skaer’s Me VIII (2012), as part of his job doing the photo-documentation of the Collection.
Works from the Collection, across three residences in New York City, range from 17th-century portraits to works by Britain’s leading contemporary artists. Find out what the portrait in this picture tells us about Britain’s entangled history with the United States.
The British Ambassador's Residence in Budapest, built in 1925, was originally home to Hanna Hódosi and her husband Tibor Scitovszky. Read on to find out why this became significant for the Collection.
Tacita Dean announced for Government Art Collection Commission
Our combined annual report and acquisition lists are published in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
Tristram Hillier’s painting, ‘Fossils (February)’ features in ‘Landscapes of the Mind: the Art of Tristram Hillier’ at The Museum of Somerset, Taunton from 6 November 2019 – 18 April 2020
Paintings by Jessica Dismorr and Winifred Nicholson on loan to the exhibition, 'Radical Women: Jessica Dismorr and her Contemporaries' at the Pallant House Gallery
Jan Siberechts’ painting ‘View of Longleat’ features in the British Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of a long-term loan.
James Pryde’s painting, 'The Monument', features in 'James Pryde at Dunecht', at Daniel Katz Gallery, London from 5 October – 20 December 2019
This annual print commission is awarded to an outstanding British artist every year for ten years with the support of philanthropists Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr.
Dr Claire FitzGerald, Curator (Modern & Contemporary) tells us about her love for uncovering the stories hidden within the Government Art Collection
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
From its informal foundation by ministerial memo back in 1898, historical portraits have formed some of the first purchases of the Collection and they continue to do so today.
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.