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Framed works of art hanging on a frosted glass wall. 9 artworks hang in a line along the wall. In the foreground are some tables and chairs, and wide flat upholstered benches.


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New Acquisitions to the Parliamentary Art Collection, 2022

A new temporary display in Portcullis House showcases new acquisitions to the Parliamentary Art Collection made by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art in 2022.  The Committee oversees purchases, donations, and commissions to the permanent Parliamentary Art Collection in the House of Commons and advises on the use and management of the Collection.

The Display

The latest display celebrates a selection of recent additions. It continues the Committee’s push to diversify the subjects, makers, and scenes that form the Collection.

Framed works of art hanging on a frosted glass wall.  9 artworks hang in a line along the wall. In the foreground are some tables and chairs, and wide flat upholstered benches.
New acquisitions display, 2022

Barbara Duval by Janina Forbes-Robertson

The new acquisitions include a rare depiction of a suffrage campaigner by Janina Forbes-Robertson, who captured Barbara Duval in an armchair holding a book. Duval took part in one of Parliament’s most high-profile protests. On the 29th October 1908, at the age of 17, she and her mother attended a demonstration outside Parliament (a little after two women, Helen Fox and Muriel Matters, had chained themselves to the grilles in the Ladies Gallery and dropped a proclamation into the Chamber below). Both were arrested. 

Duval campaigned throughout her life and appeared on the WSPU’s “Roll of Honour of Suffragette Prisoners, 1905-14.” Sadly, she died at 28 before she could exercise her hard-fought right to vote. The artist Forbes-Robertson was born in Poland as Janina Flamm, but moved to London after marrying Eric Forbes-Robertson. This portrait joins the Parliamentary Art Collection’s growing collection of suffragist and suffragette portraits, including John Bacon’s Emmeline Pankhurst (WOA 5438) and Julian Barrow’s Eleanor Rathbone, MP (WOA 4391).

Kate Hoey MP by Tess Barnes

Painting of a woman with medium-length curly brown hair. She is sat in a green armchair holding a pair of glasses in her right hand and a watch on her left wrist.  She is wearing a bright blazer and skirt with a light blouse, whose collar expands over the lapels of the jacket. On the right arm of the chair is a dark phone with a keypad and curly cable.  In the background above her left shoulder is a small boxy television on a chest of drawers and the bottom half of a clock above her head. Behind her right shoulder is an office chair behind a desk piled high with books and papers and a green lamp.  On the wall are several paintings or photos. The painting is vividly coloured and with lots of coloured shading and warm tones.
Kate Hoey MP, Painting by Tess Barnes © The Artist or their estate, Photo Credit Parliamentary Art Collection WOA 7669.

The contemporary portraitist Tess Barnes brings another new and important face into the collection.  She painted Baroness Hoey when she was Minister for Sport 22 years ago. Hoey was elected eight times. She served as an MP for Vauxhall in London for 30 years—the fourth longest serving woman of all time.  Baroness Hoey continues her crucial contributions to Parliament in her new role in the House of Lords.  Barnes depicts the former MP here surrounded by objects that reflect her work and career: a photograph of Hoey with her parents, an artwork she painted during a class run for MPs at Chelsea School of Art, as well as a photo with Arsenal football players.

Idris Khan’s London Series

Topographical works (or studies of places) form a major part of the Parliamentary Art Collection. Our latest display includes five prints that extend that portfolio by depicting five of London’s iconic landmarks: The Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and St Paul’s Cathedral.  Idris Khan’s “London series” was originally commissioned by the New York Times in 2012. Each shows London as a palimpsest (an item where new layers are added over the previous). It is composed from found imagery—postcards, photos, advertisements—from the 1930s onwards. Khan is a major British artist working across photography, video, and sculpture.  His first career survey exhibition opens this year at the Milwaukee Art Museum in the United States.

Timeless by John Reyntiens

A black background against a white clockface with Roman numerals and a flower-like centre, without any hands. There are 11 signatures beneath the print, which is titled on the left, ‘Timeless.’ The names are; John Reyntiens, Adam O’Grady, Alastair Feltell, Anthony Fanshawe, George Wain, Mai-Loan Tu, Mark Wilkins, Matilda Shenstone, Rebecca Dobie, Tim Clarkson, Wendy Stone
Timeless, Print by John Reyntiens © John Reyntiens, Photo credit: Parliamentary Art Collection WOA 7737.

Among the most recent architectural work on the Estate is the restoration of Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower. The Reyntiens Glass Studio was central to this refurbishment, cutting and installing intricate glasswork for the clock faces by hand. The owner and stained-glass artist John Reyntiens donated a print to the Parliamentary Art Collection last year called “Timeless.” It symbolises the mammoth scale of the construction work and the longevity of the building. The clock in the print has no arms, capturing a moment during the construction work. Each member of the team who worked on the project signed the artwork.

John Hume by Colin Davidson

Portrait of John Hume. At the bottom of the image, the collar and shoulders of his blue shirt are visible, collar undone at the top. His left hand adjusts his rectangular glasses frames with smudge on left hand lens. His grey hair is combed back. The artist’s paint strokes are visible.
John Hume, Painting by Colin Davidson © UK Parliament WOA 7738 

The New Acquisitions to the Parliamentary Art Collection 2022-3 display gave us another opportunity to celebrate Colin Davidson’s extraordinary portrait of John Hume commissioned by the Committee.  You can read more about the work in our news story about the painting’s unveiling.

January 31, 2023