Selected by Downing Street Staff 9 March – 10 June 2012

Selected by Downing Street Staff 9 March – 10 June 2012

Selected by Downing Street Staff

9 March10 June 2012


With over 13,500 works of art spanning

five centuries, the Government Art

Collection is the most dispersed

collection of British art in the world.

Placed in offices and official residences,

two thirds of the works are on display in

British Government buildings in nearly

every capital city. Dating from 1898,

the Collection helps promote British

art and history while contributing to

cultural diplomacy.


For the fourth display of the Government Art Collection

at the Whitechapel Gallery we wanted to invite a group

of people from a community or organisation to select

works of art from the Collection. The non-political staff

at 10 Downing Street provided the ideal group – a

community that already exists within this well-known

building – where some staff have worked longer than

a number of Prime Ministers.

The staff who volunteered thoroughly engaged with

the process of making an exhibition from the works

of art that have been displayed in this historic building

over the years. Amongst the works chosen a few are

particularly important to Downing Street, for example

the view of Horse Guards Parade by Samuel Scott and

a portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, who is often referred

to as the first Prime Minister. This portrait has been on

display in Downing Street since the early decades of

the last century and has never been shown in a public

gallery. These works of art are presented alongside

works by contemporary artists.

I’d like to thank most warmly the 12 people from No10

for their enthusiasm and commitment and Adrian George,

Government Art Collection: Curator: Collection Projects

who conceived and led the project. I hope you enjoy

the exhibition.

Penny Johnson

Director, Government Art Collection

Cover image: Samuel Scott (c.1702–1772) Horse Guards Parade 1755



12 From No10

Number 10 Downing Street, London, the official

residence of the British Prime Minister, is one of the

most instantly recognisable Government buildings

in the world. The street, the house and even the highgloss,

black front door together set the stage for

generations of politicians and diplomats to deliver

speeches to millions of people across the globe.

Across the centuries the building itself seems to have

developed a presence which could be seen almost as

a ‘personality’ and has a unique place in the hearts

and minds of the British public. No10 has been, and

continues to be, the setting for many pivotal moments

in British history. Since the late 19th century most of

these moments have taken place against a backdrop

of works of art from the Government Art Collection

(GAC). No10 has a valuable role to play in promoting

British art, history and culture.

The Downing Street buildings stand on ground that

has been of political importance for over 1,000 years

– even in Roman times there were key settlements in

the area. In 1530, Henry VIII began work to extend a

property he had previously confiscated from Cardinal

Wolsey. In doing so he created an extravagant royal

residence: Whitehall Palace (mostly destroyed by fire

in 1698). The Downing Street we know today is located

on the edge of the original Palace site and is named

after Sir George Downing – a speculator, spy and

traitor, a man described by the diarist Samuel Pepys

as ‘a perfidious rogue’.

Although born in Britain, Downing was raised in

America only returning to England during the Civil War.

By 1650, Downing had become Oliver Cromwell’s

No10 Downing Street, London © Crown copyright



Scoutmaster General (which today would be

considered the Head of Intelligence) and just four

years later he acquired the land around what was

to become Downing Street. It took 30 years for

Downing to obtain all the leases necessary to start

his planned redevelopment of the area. Once he

had the paperwork he began demolishing buildings

and constructed a cul-de-sac of around 20 smaller

properties. These houses were cheaply built with

poor foundations and once completed the dwellings

were re-numbered, No5 Downing Street becoming

No10 in 1779.

10 Downing Street is in fact two houses: Downing’s

low-cost terrace house at the front and a grander,

late 17th century building, overlooking Horse Guards

Parade at the rear. The buildings were joined in the

early 1730s when George II presented both houses

as a gift to Sir Robert Walpole, First Lord of the

Treasury, who is considered Britain’s first Prime

Minister. Walpole refused the gift, instead asking the

King to allow him to use the properties as an official

residence. Employing architect and designer William

Kent to join and refurbish the two properties, Walpole

finally took up residence in 1735. Since that time

all British Prime Ministers have lived or worked

in the building.

Prime Minister Harold Wilson in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street, October

1964 with the portrait of Sir Robert Walpole in the background © George Freston /

Hulton Archive / Getty Images


Each year thousands of people visit Downing Street

– from world leaders to those invited to mark their

contributions to local communities or charities. The

works of art they see help create a lasting impression

of their visit. However, there is another group of people

who engage with the works of art displayed there –

a group of people the public rarely, if ever, encounter

– the staff who work behind the scenes at 10 Downing

Street. They experience works of art from the

Collection as part of their daily working lives.


When you come in here [No10], it [the art]

is already hung, but you don’t really think

about who’s hanging it and why they hang

it there, but you have to have a look...

Margaret, cleaner

The project began in September 2010 when GAC

curators set about promoting the idea to the staff

at No10. Posters were designed and emails sent

out asking for non-political staff to work with the

GAC to select works of art for display at the

Whitechapel Gallery.

Of those who volunteered, some have job titles

that are instantly recognisable, for example personal

assistants, facility managers and cleaners. Others

A poster, designed by the Government Art Collection, announcing

the exhibition project to staff at 10 Downing Street, May 2010

10 Downing Street staff from a montage of photographs taken by

Eve Arnold, published in The Sunday Times Magazine, 31 January 1993

© Eve Arnold / courtesy of Magnum Photos / N I Syndication

The three previous GAC exhibitions at the Whitechapel

Gallery have been selected in collaboration with wellknown

figures in British art (Cornelia Parker, artist),

culture (Simon Schama, historian) and politics (MPs

and ambassadors) – all familiar with the Collection

or its role in one way or another. For the fourth display,

in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery, GAC

curators chose to work with a group from the nonpolitical

community at No10.



are more unusual, for instance the custodians, who

are responsible for maintaining certain rules and

traditions within the building and meeting visitors

at the famous front door. These volunteers all shared

one thing – the desire to be part of an exhibition

project that would place works of art usually displayed

at No10 in a public gallery, many for the first time.

When the chance came along to curate

an art exhibition for Downing Street,

it was so far removed from the day-today

work I’m normally involved with

I jumped at it.

Terry, telecoms operations

The group comprised : David, facilities manager;

Diane, Liz, Monica and Sarah, all personal assistants;

Ian, custodian; Larissa, IT manager; Margaret and

Mary, cleaners; Sarah, operations manager and Terry

and Chris, who work in telecoms operations and

support. These people from No10 had a particular

passion for their place of work and a strong personal

connection with some of the works of art on display.

To help the volunteers make their decisions GAC

curators gave presentations and offered background

information on the Collection, its history and role

as well as the plans for the Collection exhibitions at

the Whitechapel Gallery. All those who signed up to

the project were given a list of works of art displayed

at No10 over the last 30 years. Each person was then

asked to choose up to three works that they would

want to include in the exhibition before meeting

GAC curators to discuss in greater depth the

works selected.

‘ This work [John Virtue Landscape No.664 2003] stopped me

in my tracks when I saw it displayed in the State Rooms

lobby whilst rushing by one day.’

Diane, PA

The group of selectors met just seven times across

the period of a year, first at No10, then at the GAC



Ada Lovelace by Margaret Carpenter is carried into 10 Downing Street

in January 2003 © The Times / NI Syndication / Michael Crabtree

offices and finally at the Whitechapel Gallery. Many

questions were raised such as which works to include,

how the exhibition might look and how it would be

experienced. With Whitechapel Gallery colleagues

the group discussed how visitors would move through

the Gallery and what information visitors might find

useful or interesting. Within this diverse group of

individuals there were many strong personalities

which led to passionate discussions – the challenges

posed by curating a show as a group were recognised

quite quickly.

‘ This piece [Wood & Harrison Twenty Six (Drawing and Falling

Things) 2000-01] challenged me when it was first suggested

for Downing Street. My initial (and very unfair) reaction was

‘no way’. It all seemed a little too modern… but run they did

to much amusement and interest from staff, visiting

dignitaries and members of the public.’

David, facilities manager



It was fascinating to hear different

points of view and explore what worked

well together… I’ve reflected much more

on the artists’ intentions.

Sarah, operations manager

Sarah Brown and Michelle

Obama in the White Room,

10 Downing Street, April

2009. The sculpture of

Florence Nightingale is

in the background, right

© Christopher Furlong /

Getty Images

Prime Minister Tony Blair

and US Secretary of State

Condoleeza Rice in front of

the portrait of Ada Lovelace

in the Pillared Drawing Room,

10 Downing Street, February

2005 © Max Nash / AFP /

Getty Images

For GAC curators, the challenge was to avoid suggesting

areas of discussion or to influence decisions. It became

clear to the group that their particular challenge was

to balance personal choice against what might be best

within the broader context of the overall exhibition.

At one point five representations of Churchill were on

the list of potential works, while there were relatively

few examples of contemporary works. However, the

final selection is made up of mostly modern and

contemporary works.

The public might be surprised how much

contemporary art there is at Downing

Street. It’s probably got the impression

of [being] quite a stuffy, staid building.

Terry, telecoms operations

The extraordinary thing about the works of art

displayed at 10 Downing Street is that they are shown

in a complex, multi-use space – a place of work, a

domestic environment, a place of historical importance

and a key location in international trade, diplomacy

and politics. Works of art at No10, like other works

from the GAC in more than 400 locations worldwide,

have to function on many different levels, showcasing

new British talent, accurately reflecting historical

aspects of the building as well as working in harmony

with the interiors. The art on display needs to be

accessible and engaging and add to the general

ambiance of one of the most prestigious government

buildings in the world.



Taking part in this exhibition has really

helped me to take a wider perspective

of art. It has given me an appreciation

of all forms of art, not just those I was

already interested in.

Liz, personal assistant

The team of twelve volunteer selectors from 10

Downing Street realised that by presenting the

works of art within the Whitechapel Gallery’s pristine

white spaces, the usual context of the works might

be lost. The unique setting of No10 became an

important consideration. Everything started to seem

relevant – the furnishings, wall papers, carpets all

adding something to the ambiance – and in turn those

elements could be important to the way the public

experience the works of art presented at the Gallery.

So in designing the exhibition, the group would have

to come up with a solution to evoke something of the

atmosphere of their workplace, even though it could

not be entirely recreated. The display incorporates a

few elements that hint at No10’s interior decor while

never losing sight of the works of art, as the lead

players, taking centre stage.

This is the first time staff from 10 Downing Street

have been involved in an art project of this kind.

The group and the curators hope this display goes

some way in showing visitors to the Whitechapel

Gallery why works of art are displayed in British

Government buildings. This project aims to make

clear the impact the Government Art Collection

has on those who visit No10 as well as the lives

of the people who work there every day.

Adrian George

Curator: Collections Projects

Government Art Collection

Prime Minister John Major with his wife Norma in the White Room, 10

Downing Street, in a painting by John Wonnacott commissioned by the

National Portrait Gallery in 1997. The Sisters Lloyd by W.R. Sickert hangs

in the corner © National Portrait Gallery, London



List of works

The works in the exhibition are listed here

alphabetically by artist. The location in the last line

of each entry refers to the most recent place that

the work was on display.

A short video film, produced and directed by

Jared Schiller, documents the development of this

exhibition project with No10 staff. The video is

shown in the gallery on continuous loop alongside

the works of art.

John Bratby (1928–1992)

Window, Dartmouth Row, Blackheath c.1954–1956

oil on hardboard

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London

Window, Dartmouth Row, Blackheath,

is a composition of irregular squares

and rectangles painted in deliberately

drab colours. Outside is a church and

neighbouring houses along the south

east London street where John Bratby

and his wife Jean Cooke lived.

In 1954 Bratby became known as a

‘Kitchen Sink’ painter. This term (which

he later rejected) derived from an article

written by the critic David Sylvester

identifying a style of English realist

painting that focused on the everyday.

Bratby’s paintings often featured brand

names and packaging, in this case a

Kellogg’s cornflake packet, highlighting

the availability of processed foods and

products after wartime austerity. His

commonplace subjects were at odds

with the art world’s prevailing interest

in abstraction at the time.



Margaret Carpenter (1793–1872)

Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) Mathematician; daughter

of Lord Byron 1836

oil on canvas

10 Downing Street, London

Ada King (later Countess of Lovelace)

was the daughter of Lord Byron, from

his year-long marriage to Annabella

Milbanke of 1815–16. Ada was raised by

her mother and became a mathematician,

assisting Charles Babbage in his work

on mechanical computers.

This portrait was exhibited at the Royal

Academy as Lady King in 1836, a year

after the sitter’s marriage to William King,

eighth Baron King of Ockham (who was

made Earl of Lovelace in 1838). The portrait

received positive comments in reviews of

the exhibition, including the following from

The Morning Post: ‘With richness of colour

and great breadth of effect it combines a

softness of tone and a beauty of expression

that could not well be surpassed’. Ada’s

own reaction to Carpenter’s truthful

likeness of herself was to quip: ‘I conclude

she is bent on displaying the whole expanse

of my capacious jaw bone, upon which

I think the word Mathematics should

be written.’

Richard Eurich (1903–1992)

Coast Scene with Rainbow 1952–1953

oil on canvas

HM Ambassador’s Residence, Madrid

Against a dark, troubled sky and stormy

sea, a rainbow appears above a group

of young bathers – a symbolic union

between Heaven and Earth or perhaps

a sign of the Apocalypse. Moored on the

beach to the right of the scene is a boat

called ‘Verity’ (‘Truth’), instilling an air of

optimism over adversity. Coast Scene with

Rainbow is a nostalgic evocation of Richard

Eurich’s childhood memories of family

holidays in Yorkshire as is the small Pierrot

figure crouched by the boat. Members of

Eurich’s family were amateur theatrical

enthusiasts and needed little excuse to

dress up at home.

Eurich cultivated an interest in the sea

from an early age and was inspired by

the dramatic seascapes of J. M. W. Turner.

During the Second World War he became

an Official War Artist; the last major

exhibition of his work toured the UK

in 1994.



Yousuf Karsh (1908–2002)

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874–1965)

Prime Minister 1941

black and white photograph

10 Downing Street, London

This iconic portrait of Sir Winston Churchill

was taken in Ottawa, where the British

Prime Minister was addressing the

Canadian Parliament. At a time when

Britain was enduring relentless air attacks,

Mackenzie King, then Canadian Prime

Minister, had invited Yousuf Karsh to be

present, yet Churchill was unaware that he

was to be photographed. He was reluctant

to put out his famous cigar but the artist

politely had to remove it from his mouth.

‘At this the Churchillian scowl deepened,’

Karsh wrote, ‘So he stands in my portrait

in what has always seemed to me the image

of England in those years, defiant and


After escaping persecution in Armenia,

Karsh lived with his family in Quebec,

before moving to Boston, Massachusetts,

where he studied photography. Over the

course of his career, Karsh photographed

hundreds of prominent people, from

Hollywood stars and statesmen, to poets

and popes.

Studio of Jean Baptiste van Loo (active c.1710–1745)

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford

(1676–1745) Prime Minister c.1740

oil on canvas

10 Downing Street, London

Considered the first Prime Minister,

Robert Walpole wears the black and

gold robes of the Chancellor and the

garter ribbon and star, indicating his

membership of the Order of the Bath.

This portrait was formerly in the collection

of Lord Lee of Fareham (1868–1947) who,

in 1917, presented the Chequers house

and estate, in Buckinghamshire, in trust

to the nation for the use of successive

prime ministers. It is one of several

similar portraits of Walpole from the

studio of Jean Baptiste van Loo.

Born in France to a family of Flemish

painters, van Loo moved to England in

1737. Soon after Walpole became one

of his famous patrons. Engraver George

Vertue remarked that van Loo’s success

in gaining commissions ‘exceeds that of

any other painter that is come to England

in the memory of anyone living’. This

popularity has been attributed to van

Loo’s ability to accurately capture both

the physical likeness and something of

the personality of his sitters.



Oscar Nemon (1906–1985)

Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965) and

Lady Clementine Churchill (1885–1977)


10 Downing Street, London

This informal double portrait of Sir Winston

Churchill and his wife Clementine, is a

maquette (small-scale study) for a larger

bronze entitled Tribute to Married Love

which was originally made for the Country

Club Plaza in Kansas City, USA. The

maquette was presented for display to

10 Downing Street by the Trustees of the

Churchill Statue Fund in 1991. Churchill

met Oscar Nemon in Morocco, shortly after

becoming Prime Minister for the second

time. The two men became firm friends

and Nemon produced several portrait

busts of Churchill. Correspondence from

the 1950s reveals that Clementine was

reluctant to sit for the sculpture.

Nemon was born in Osijek (now part of

Croatia) and in 1938 moved to the UK,

establishing a studio in Oxford. He

developed a reputation as a leading

sculptor – his many sitters included

HM Queen Elizabeth II, Harold MacMillan

and Sigmund Freud.

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889–1946)

Battlefields of Britain 1942

oil on canvas

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London

Sketched from the window of a pilot’s

cockpit, this ethereal view of clouds was

inspired by a line from High Flight, a sonnet

by John Gillepsie Magee, an American

officer who was only 19 years old when

killed on active service in Britain. A keen

flier himself, C.R.W. Nevinson made ten

flights to make preparatory sketches for

this painting. In October 1942 he presented

it to Sir Winston Churchill who, in turn, gave

it as a gift to the nation. First displayed in

the Air Council Room at the Air Ministry,

it has since featured in other locations

including 10 Downing Street and the

Residence of the British Ambassador to

the United Nations in New York.

Nevinson was born in London and studied

at the Slade School of Art, London and in

Paris. He served abroad during the First

World War and in 1917, he was appointed

an Official War Artist. After suffering a deep

depression at the outbreak of the Second

World War, his health deteriorated and he

died in London in 1946.



Seamus Nicolson (born 1971)

Jason 2000

Wajid 2000

C-type photographs on aluminium

HM Ambassador’s Residence, Washington, DC

Jason and Wajid, the young men in these

photographs, are shown between the

darkness of the street and the artificial

light and colour of their late-night shops.

Despite their apparent spontaneity these

are carefully contrived portraits. Seamus

Nicolson’s colour-drenched compositions

are orchestrated to draw attention to the

inherent beauty, but also the banality of

urban life. The advertising and produce,

as well as the bicycle propped up by Wajid

and the phone card promotions in the

window next to Jason, locate the images

firmly in British urban culture at the turn

of the 21st century.

Nicolson was born in London, he studied

Fine Art at Kingston University and then

gained an MA in photography at the Royal

College of Art, London. He now lives and

works in Frome, Somerset.

Samuel Scott (c.1702–1772)

Horse Guards Parade 1755

oil on canvas

10 Downing Street, London

This view of Horse Guards Parade, seen

from the south west, includes the old red

brick Admiralty building in the distance and

the newly completed Horse Guards building

in the centre of the composition. In 1950

the Ministry of Works bid at auction for a

similar painting which was attributed to

Samuel Scott but was out-bid. In 1993

this painting, from the collection of former

Prime Minster (James) Ramsay MacDonald

(1866–1937), was presented to the

Government Art Collection by MacDonald’s

daughter and son-in-law.

Samuel Scott’s early subjects include

marine scenes and naval engagements

in the style of the Dutch painters the

de Veldes. He was subsequently influenced

by Antonio Canaletto’s views of London and

the Thames, and so Scott’s later paintings

are almost exclusively topographical.



Walter Richard Sickert (1860–1942)

The Sisters Lloyd 1888–1889

oil on canvas

HM Ambassador’s Residence, Paris

The Sisters Lloyd were popular music

hall entertainers in the late 19th century.

Rosie Lloyd and her cousin Bella Orchard,

most probably depicted here, were the first

‘Sisters’ who were later succeeded on stage

by other members of the same family. When

first exhibited at the New English Art Club

in 1894, the painting’s loose brushwork

was regarded as being extremely radical.

A review in The Glasgow Herald of 1894

referred to the painting as ‘unpleasant from

a decorative point of view’, while another

journal described the figures as ‘smudges

which look more like a couple of redheaded

mops with bifurcated stems than

the Sisters anything’.

Sickert began painting scenes from London

music halls in the mid 1880s, after meeting

Degas in Paris. This work is reminiscent of

the café-concerts painted by Degas and

Manet in the 1870s and 1880s.

Mike Silva (born 1970)

Pathway through Park 2000

oil on canvas

HM Ambassador’s Residence, Cairo

Pathway through Park is a view of leafy

Victoria Park in Hackney, East London.

Mike Silva’s atmospheric landscape creates

an image of an idyllic English summer

afternoon in the park with intense patches

of sunlight falling through the trees.

Silva bases his paintings on photographic

images and, while at first glance, this

image resembles a snapshot, up close

the composition dissolves into molten

pools of colour and light.

Silva’s earlier work was often based on

portraits of friends. Recent work has taken

a narrative approach, drawing on images

that Silva collects from the internet and

the mass media – including Somalian

pirates, rock stars, refugees and porn stars

– which he juxtaposes and reworks in oil

paint. Mike Silva was born in Sweden. He

studied at Middlesex University and at the

Royal College of Art, London.



John Virtue (born 1947)

Landscape No.664 2003

oil & mixed media on canvas,

HM Ambassador’s Residence, Berlin

John Virtue’s monochromatic landscape

is from a series of views of London seen

from different points along the River

Thames. St Paul’s Cathedral is viewed from

the river, looking towards Blackfriars Bridge,

its monumental dome accentuated against

painted white patches of canvas. Since the

late 1980s Virtue has produced large-scale

works by applying paint to canvas using a

variety of methods and tools, including

brushes, rollers, basting syringes, spray

guns, calligraphy brushes and even his

fingers and toes. Virtue says: ‘I use anything

really. Anything I can get an equivalence,

an equivalence to experience, that makes

equivalent marks.’

Born in Lancashire, Virtue studied at the

Slade School of Art, London where he

was a student of Frank Auerbach. Virtue’s

landscapes were exhibited at the National

Gallery, London after he completed a

residency there in 2005.

Arthur George Walker (1861–1939)

Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) reformer of

nursing and of the Army Medical Services


10 Downing Street, London

This bronze statuette shows the

celebrated English nurse and reformer

Florence Nightingale. Nightingale is

famously described as ‘The Lady of the

Lamp’, a name first used by a journalist in

The Times, describing her midnight vigils

to the injured during the Crimean War.

In 1854 Nightingale took a party of 38

nurses to the British camp in Scutari,

Turkey where she battled against appalling

living conditions to care for the wounded.

After her highly influential book Notes on

Nursing was published in 1859, Nightingale

devoted her life to the improvement of

nursing practices. In 1907, in recognition

of her distinguished service, she became

the first woman to be awarded the Order

of Merit. This sculpture is a miniature

version of Arthur George Walker’s statue

of Nightingale in Waterloo Place, London,

commissioned in 1910 as a memorial to

those killed in the Crimean War.



Nick Waplington (born 1965)

Random Growth without Loss of Stability 2006

C-type photograph

HM Ambassador’s Residence, Paris

This photograph depicts a small section

of the pier in the seaside town of

Eastbourne. Nick Waplington transforms

a mundane subject into a startling image.

The ironic title and the close-up view

highlight the structure’s precariousness

and how much the pier has been colonised

by algae and barnacles.

Waplington rose to prominence in 1991

for his project, The Living Room, which

documented the daily existence of two

families in Nottingham, juxtaposing

images of tenderness, depravity, happiness

and aggression. Photographing subjects

as varied as the Welsh countryside and

the birth of his son, he reveals the multilayered

complexity of everyday life.

Waplington studied at Worthing Art

College, Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham

and at the Royal College of Art, London.

John Wood (born 1966) & Paul Harrison (born 1969)

From the series Twenty Six (Drawing and Falling Things)


6 x DVD videos

Department for Culture, Media & Sport, London

These six videos, titled Ladder, Handle/

Rope, Map, Lean, Slide and Platform are

part of a series of twenty-six videos by

John Wood and Paul Harrison. Each one

shows the artists in a featureless white

room, performing a series of controlled

movements with ordinary household

objects such as doors and ladders. In

each video frame, the shapes of their

bodies, like the objects, become integral

components of the work. Several of their

movements involve some form of pain

or discomfort on their part. Dressed in

identical black clothes and with faces

devoid of emotion, their deadpan gestures

and solemn expressions add to the videos’

overall sense of farce.

Wood and Harrison met as students at

Bath College, and since 1993 have

collaborated on works in a wide variety

of media including video, performance,

sculpture, installation and dance. The

complete installation of Twenty Six

(Drawing and Falling Things) was included in

their first solo exhibition that was held at

the Chisenhale Gallery, London in 2002.



Related Exhibition Events

The Story of the Government Art Collection

3 March – 2 September 2012

Pat Matthews Gallery (Gallery 4)

In 1899 it was the cost of decoration that prompted

the use of art instead of wallpapers to cover the walls

of government buildings. Today the Government Art

Collection is one of the most important collections

of British Art. On display for the first time from the

Collection’s archives are rare documents including a

1962 proposal by artist William Coldstream that the

Whitechapel Gallery hold an exhibition of the Collection.

Talk: Philippa Martin on New Wall Papers:

The Story of the Government Art Collection

Thursday 3 May, 7pm

A tour of the current archive exhibition recording the

changing history of the Government Art Collection.

With BSL interpretation

Tours: Government Art Collection

Wednesday 21 March, Tuesdays 24 April & 29 May, 6.30pm

Government Art Collection, Queens Yard, 179a Tottenham

Court Road, London, W1T 7PA

(Free, booking essential)

A chance to go behind the scenes of this world-class

collection of British Art.

Gallery Talk: Government Art Collection: Selected by

Downing Street Staff: 12 from No10

Thursday 5 April, 7pm, Gallery 7 (Free)

Join Adrian George, Curator: Collection Projects,

Government Art Collection, introducing the latest display.

With BSL interpretation

Further Information

Image Credits

Images copyright the artist or

© Crown copyright: UK Government

Art Collection except for the following:

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson

Richard Eurich

John Bratby

The above © Courtesy of the artist’s

estate / Bridgeman Art Library

Art, Power, Diplomacy

Government Art Collection,

The Untold Story

Booking is essential for all events.

Scala Publishers, £20.00 paperback

ISBN: 978 1 85759 691 5

Available from the Whitechapel

Gallery bookshop and at

or from ACC Distribution:

(0)1394 389 950 or email

Walter Richard Sickert

© Estate of Walter R Sickert /

DACS 2012

Oscar Nemon

© Estate of Oscar Nemon

Yousuf Karsh

© Estate of Yousuf Karsh /

Camera Press

Book through the Whitechapel Gallery:

T +44 (0)20 7522 7888



Government Art Collection

At Work

3 June – 4 September 2011

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain selected by Cornelia Parker

16 September – 4 December 2011

Travelling Light selected by Simon Schama

16 December 2011 – 26 February 2012

12 from No10 selected by Downing Street Staff

9 March10 June 2012

Commissions: Now and Then

21 June – 2 September 2012

This exhibition is a collaboration

between the Whitechapel Gallery

and the Government Art Collection

Whitechapel Gallery

77–82 Whitechapel High Street

London E1 7QX

Aldgate East / Liverpool Street

DLR Tower Gateway

T +44 (0)20 7522 7888

F +44 (0)20 7377 7887

Admission free

Opening Hours:

Gallery, Bookshop and Café/Bar

Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–6pm

Thursday, 11am–9pm

The Foyle Reading Room

Tuesday–Friday, 11am–5pm

Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room

Tuesday–Saturday, 12–2.30pm

Wednesday–Saturday, 6pm–11pm

(last food orders 9.30pm)

Sunday, 12–3.45pm

The Whitechapel

Gallery Collections

programme is

supported by:

Booklet design: Park Studio


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