The Collection

How many works of art are there in the Collection?

There are over 14,000 works in the Collection. This figure includes works administered by us, such as the portraits of previous British prime ministers displayed on the famous staircase in 10 Downing Street.  We continue to purchase and commission works of art each year.

Are all the works in the Collection by British artists?

No, although the vast majority of works are by artists who were born in Britain or who have strong British connections. The 18th century topographical painter Peter Tillemans is one example of an artist in the Collection who was born overseas but worked in Britain. A small number of works, such as Andy Warhol’s portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, are part of the Collection on account of their strong British subject matter.

Do you commission works of art?

Yes, we occasionally commission works directly from artists. Andrew Grassie’s paintings of the Pillared Room at 10 Downing Street and the GAC Sculpture Store are among the contemporary works of art commissioned in recent years. We also commission works on behalf of other Government departments, such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office.

How much is the Collection worth?

Like other national collections, the Collection is not treated as a financial asset. Due to the constant fluctuations of prices on the art market, it is impossible to attach a financial figure to the worth of the Collection.

What is on display in 10 Downing Street?

As the most important and prestigious British Government building in the UK, 10 Downing Street is the natural location to display some of our finest works. Examples of historical, modern and contemporary works of art are all displayed there. Go to our Locations Browser to see what’s in Downing Street and other locations worldwide.

Do you look after the works of art in the Houses of Parliament?

No. The Houses of Parliament operates a separate art collection.