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Role - Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art

The Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art, established in 1954, is a cross-party group of Members appointed by the Speaker to advise on the use and management of the Parliamentary Art Collection in the House of Commons.

About the Collection

Parliament has been collecting works of art for over 150 years. The origin of the Collection was in the 1840s when large wall paintings and marble statues were added to the newly built Palace of Westminster. It currently has over 9,000 works of art, divided between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

It is a collection of national and international significance, which the Committee and the staff in the Curator's Office develop, care for and interpret to ensure it remains relevant to the changing face of Parliament. Care is also taken to illustrate the people and events which have made a difference to the political life of the UK and ensure a variety of styles and approaches from UK-based artists are represented.

You can find out more through the Heritage Collections pages.

Work of the Committee

The Committee's remit is:

  • to advise the Speaker on matters relating to the Art Collection in the House of Commons;
  • to purchase works of art from an acquisition budget funded by the House of Commons, in accordance with the finance rules of the House;
  • to help safeguard the Parliamentary Art Collection and ensure new purchases are in line with the Acquisition Policy and represent good value for money;
  • to advise  officials, as appropriate, on the decorative interiors of the Commons part of the Palace of Westminster and of other Commons buildings on the Parliamentary Estate; and
  • to make proposals on the siting of works of art to the Administration Committee.

Image: House of Commons 1986, Painting by June Mendoza © June Mendoza, Photo credit: Parliamentary Art Collection WOA 3232. View full image.