Crown copyright. Photo Tony Harris. Courtesy of the Government Art Collection and the Whitechapel Gallery

Plans for Government Art Collection display space

Eleanor Mills, 15.02.2017
DCMS seeks new premises with gallery for 14,000-strong British art collection
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is searching for new premises for the Government Art Collection (GAC) with a view to displaying the collection, according to a report in The Art Newspaper.

Since 1999, the GAC has been housed in Queen’s Yard, London, which has no display space.

The 14,000 strong collection of mainly British art, which contains important works from the 16th century to the present day, can only be viewed by pre-arranged tour or in exhibitions that works are lent to.

Approximately two thirds of the collection is displayed across the UK’s 370 government buildings around the world, with a Barbara Hepworth sculpture, a William Hogarth painting, a painting by contemporary artist Fiona Rae and a portrait of Elizabeth I dating to 16th century currently housed at the British embassy in Washington DC.

A DCMS spokeswoman said: "The GAC is the most dispersed collection of British art in the world.

“The GAC is looking for new accommodation and, as part of this, hopes to establish a small display space that everyone will be able to enjoy. The location and timing will be announced in due course.”

The most significant public display of the GAC in recent years was at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 2011 under the title, the Government Art Collection Selected by Cornelia Parker: Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain.

The GAC was established in 1898.

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