Stories that inspire: artworks category

Fascinating stories await in the collection for you to discover and explore

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Eye of the Sultan:

A New Display for Ankara

During the 18th century, diplomatic relations between the UK and Turkey were formalised. A new display of works of art in the British Ambassador’s Residence in Ankara tells the story of this historic engagement, and follows the countries' shared histories, spanning the Ottoman era through to the present day.

The Coronation works in the Collection

As part of the celebrations surrounding the coronation, over a hundred works of art were commissioned or purchased by the Ministry of Works from early 1953 to 1954. Explore these works in the Government Art Collection, from artists like L.S. Lowry, Julian Trevelyan and Barbara Horridge.

A Closer Look: L.S. Lowry’s Coronation View

When L.S. Lowry was appointed an official artist at the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, he could not imagine why he was appointed to capture such a grand occasion.

A Closer Look: A Masters’ Secret for 10 Guineas

In 1796, leading artists from the Royal Academy of Arts fell victim to an incredible hoax, masterminded by Ann Jemima Provis and her father, Thomas Provis.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.