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Lord Cormack and the Parliamentary Art Collection  

Members and Staff at Parliament have been deeply saddened to learn of the death of Lord Cormack.  Patrick Cormack served as a parliamentarian for 54 years. He was elected to the House of Commons as the MP for Cannock in June 1970. He served continuously as an MP for 40 years, including holding the posts […]

March 18, 2024

Six new objects join Parliament’s Heritage Collections

Parliament has recently acquired six significant objects for its Heritage Collections. Four of the objects were designed by A.W.N. Pugin (1812-1852). They join the collections alongside a small painting by William Dyce (1806-1864) and an architectural model of Westminster Hall. The objects have been purchased from the estate of Clive and Jane Wainwright. The Wainwrights […]

January 15, 2024
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Heritage Collections’ WICE Awards Finalist

Caroline Babington, one of our Conservation Managers for the Parliamentary Art Collection, was a finalist in the Architectural Technology category for the Women in Construction and Engineering Awards 2023.  Caroline works across a variety of artistic media to ensure works in the collection are kept safe for future generations. The finalist selection recognises her expertise […]

June 8, 2023

Tapestry Display in Millbank House

Two tapestries by artist Christine Sawyer are now on display in the lobby of Millbank House. Created in 2001 as part of the decorative scheme for the building, they celebrate British wildlife and are inspired by the artist’s experiences exploring the coast and countryside of the British Isles. Millbank House Collection Millbank House is part […]

May 23, 2023

A Tale of Two Chairs: The Library Porters’ Chairs

We have discovered intriguing new details about two historic items of furniture in our collection following their conservation. The library porters’ chairs that sit outside the Commons’ Library, marked by their tall backrests, are significantly older than first thought. The chairs were initially believed to be early 1900s, largely because of the date of their […]

May 5, 2023

Watch: John Hume by Colin Davidson

A new film captures artist Colin Davidson creating his portrait of John Hume for the Parliamentary Art Collection.   In 2021, the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art commissioned a portrait of John Hume, the Nobel Peace Prize winning Northern Irish politician.  Celebrated artist Colin Davidson completed his work of art in 2022, and it […]

April 26, 2023

Free online event: Coronations and Parliament  

Wednesday 03 May 2023 at 6pm – Join us via Teams Live. Book your free ticket.  This free online talk will explore the coronation ceremony and its strong historical links to Parliament. We’ll look at three important objects from the Parliamentary collections to understand each item’s significance to the ceremony.  About our speakers  Dr Eloise […]

April 25, 2023

Catalogue of Parliamentary Art Collection Now Online

The first major catalogue of the Parliamentary Art Collection is now online: available via the website Archive.org. ‘A Catalogue of paintings, drawings, engravings, and sculpture in The Palace of Westminster’ was compiled by curator Richard B. Walker between 1959 to 1977. It comprises several volumes. As he produced this vast catalogue, Richard Walker worked both […]

April 18, 2023

The Quinquennial: Detailed Wall Paintings Survey Takes Place

Have you heard of a quinquennial?  It’s a Latin term meaning ‘happening every five years’. We undertake a vast survey of all the wall paintings in the Palace of Westminster every five years, most recently in February 2023, and we call it the quinquennial. Specialist wall painting conservators conduct detailed inspections of the large-scale wall […]

March 17, 2023

Free Event: Join us for our Women’s History Month Lecture 2023 – Women’s Suffrage in Art

27 March 2023, 6pm – join us via Teams Live. Book your free ticket. This year is the 10th annual Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art Women’s History Lecture. We will celebrate the newly acquired portrait of Millicent Garrett Fawcett by Annie Louisa Swynnerton, which now has a permanent public home at UK Parliament. […]

March 10, 2023
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Furniture History Society Visits Parliament

On Monday 13th February, the Furniture History Society visited the Houses of Parliament for a tour. Heritage Collections had the pleasure of hosting them.  The Society was founded in 1964.  Its aim is to “study furniture of all periods, places and kinds, to increase knowledge and appreciation of it, and to assist in the preservation […]

March 2, 2023
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Portrait of Baroness Benjamin on loan to the House of Lords

A portrait of Baroness Benjamin is now on display in the House of Lords, on loan to the House through the Lord Speaker’s Advisory Panel on Works of Art. The painting, by leading portraitist June Mendoza, is on display in the Cholmondeley Room for Peers, staff, and guests to view. It is the first portrait […]

February 22, 2023
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 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. […]

January 31, 2023
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Ensuring Accessibility: Writing Alt Text

A picture is worth a thousand words, but what if you can’t see the picture?  We are in the process of writing alternative text captions, or alt text, for the thousands of objects in our collections. Here we share an insight into how and why we are writing these captions – and the challenges of […]

December 2, 2022
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New Portrait Unveiled: John Hume

On Monday 7th November 2022, a new portrait of John Hume by artist Colin Davidson was unveiled at an event at Portcullis House.  Commissioned by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, the portrait permanently joins the Parliamentary Art Collection.  John Hume (1937-2020) Hume was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour […]

November 8, 2022
Two small paper flags wrapped around pins. On the left, the flag is light blue with back text which reads 'Mrs Baldwin's Appeal National Birthday Trust Fund'. The second flag is also light blue. Across the top is a grphic banner which reads 'Help Our Mothers'. In the centre is a illustration of a woman sat down and holding a baby. There is a white circle around the mother's head which gives out into rays of light, expressed as white and black lines. Below, more text reads 'With Anaethetics'.

Postponement of ‘Help Our Mothers!’ event

Unfortunately, our upcoming lecture on Lucy Baldwin’s Campaign for Women is being postponed. The event, originally planned for 24th March 2022 at 6pm, will be rescheduled. A new date will be advertised as soon as possible. If you have booked a ticket for this Teams Live event, you will be contacted via the email you […]

March 23, 2022
Two small paper flags wrapped around pins. On the left, the flag is light blue with back text which reads 'Mrs Baldwin's Appeal National Birthday Trust Fund'. The second flag is also light blue. Across the top is a grphic banner which reads 'Help Our Mothers'. In the centre is a illustration of a woman sat down and holding a baby. There is a white circle around the mother's head which gives out into rays of light, expressed as white and black lines. Below, more text reads 'With Anaethetics'.

Event: ‘Help Our Mothers!’ Join us for our annual International Women’s Day lecture

24th March 2022 at 6pm – Join us via Teams Live. Book your free ticket. Lucy Baldwin’s Campaign for Women For the 9th annual Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art International Women’s Day lecture, Dr Susan Williams will speak about Lady Lucy Baldwin’s campaign to improve women’s care during childbirth. In 1928, almost one […]

March 15, 2022
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Conservation completed in the Moses Room

Conservation has recently been completed in the Moses Room in the House of Lords. A large painting, The Judgement of Daniel by John Rogers Herbert, received specialist care during Conference Recess.   Our team of conservators worked closely with colleagues in the In-House Services and Estates team to access and treat this large artwork, which is an oil on canvas painting set into the wooden panelled wall. Building a scaffold in the Moses Room allowed our […]

November 2, 2021
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GOTH – Designing Darkness. Objects loaned to Design Museum Den Bosch, Netherlands

Four objects from Parliament’s Heritage Collections are on loan to the Design Museum Den Bosch, Netherlands, for their exhibition, GOTH – Designing Darkness. The exhibition runs from 16th October 2021 to 18th April 2022. Designing Darkness explores everything Gothic – from the origins of Gothic design in traditional European art, to today’s modern sub-culture. From […]

October 19, 2021
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‘A Taste of Parliament’ Public Display at Astley Hall, Chorley

Works from Parliament’s Heritage Collections are on public display at Astley Hall, Chorley on Saturdays and Sundays until 31st October 2021.   A range of artworks and historic objects telling the story of Parliament are on loan to Chorley Council, following the recent G7 Speaker’s Conference held at the historic Astley Hall.   Sir Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley and Speaker of the House of Commons said;   “I wanted […]

October 6, 2021
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New portrait unveiled: The Rt Hon. the Lord Fowler, The Lord Speaker by Andrew Festing

A new portrait of Lord Fowler, former Lord Speaker, was unveiled in a ceremony in the River Room in September 2021. The Lord Speaker’s Advisory Panel on Works of Art commissioned the portrait by celebrated painter Andrew Festing in 2019. It was completed in early 2020, however unveiling the artwork was delayed during the pandemic. […]

September 21, 2021
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Reviewing the Parliamentary Art Collection: new updates published

In September 2020 the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art began a review into the Parliamentary Art Collection, supporting its aim for the collection to become more representative of diversity. Every quarter since then, we have published an updated list of the works of art in the Collection which relate to the transatlantic slave […]

August 11, 2021
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State Candelabra receive specialist cleaning

The Historic Furniture and Decorative Arts Collection is home to 5 stunning silver candelabra. There are two matching pairs, and one large and unique candelabrum (the singular form of the plural candelabra). These objects, part of the State Silver, recently received specialist cleaning. Silver conservator Donna Stevens and the HFDA team made some interesting discoveries […]

August 5, 2021
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Welcome to our New Website

The Heritage Collections Team are pleased to launch a new website dedicated to our collections; the Parliamentary Art Collection, the Historic Furniture and Decorative Arts Collection, and the Architectural Fabric Collection. Explore the site to find dazzling images of thousands of our objects, in depth stories telling the history of Parliament, and online exhibitions showcasing […]

June 22, 2021