Display 4: 12 from No10
Selected by Downing Street Staff:
12 from No10
The fourth display of works from the Government Art Collection at the Whitechapel Gallery
9 March 2012 – 10 June 2012
For the fourth display at the Whitechapel Gallery, the Government Art Collection wanted to invite a group of people from a community or organisation to select work from the Collection. The non-political staff working in 10 Downing Street provided the ideal group and thoroughly engaged with the process of making an exhibition of art that has been shown in this historic building over the years. Iconic and instantly recognisable, 10 Downing Street is a complex, multi-use space – a place of work, a domestic environment, a place of historical importance and a key location in international trade, diplomacy and politics. Works of art in No10 need to be accessible and engaging and add to the general ambiance of one of the most prestigious government buildings in the world.
This is the first time non-political staff at Downing Street have been involved in an art project of this kind. The group met several times across the period of a year, first at No10, then at the GAC offices and finally at the Whitechapel Gallery. Most of those who volunteered have job titles that are instantly recognisable for example personal assistants, facility managers and cleaners while others are more unusual, such as the custodians who, while maintaining certain rules and traditions within the building, also greet visitors at the famous front door. These volunteers all shared one thing – the desire to be part of an exhibition project that would place works of art usually displayed at No10 in a public gallery.
Highlights of the exhibition include a full-length portrait of 'Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) Mathematician; daughter of Lord Byron' (1836) (image 1), normally on display in the Pillared Drawing Room at Downing Street. Other works of art with particular ties to Downing Street include a portrait of 'Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1676–1745) Prime Minister' (c.1740) (image 2), and Samuel Scott's view of Horse Guards Parade (1755) (image 3). The group have also chosen W.R. Sickert's 'The Sisters Lloyd' (1888–89) (image 4), an impressionistic depiction of two music hall performers and 'Coast Scene with Rainbow' (1952–53) (image 5), a romantic narrative painting by Richard Eurich. Contemporary works by Seamus Nicholson, Wood & Harrison and Nick Waplington also form part of the display.
This is the fourth in a series of five displays at the Whitechapel Gallery running from 9 March to 10 June 2012. Works from all five exhibitions will then tour to:
- Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery from 16 November 2012 – 24 February 2013
- Ulster Museum, Belfast from 15 March – 9 June 2013
Download the exhibition guide (PDF 4.14MB)
If you would like to find out where these works have been displayed around the world, go to our Display 4: Location Histories page.
Visitor Information:Admission free
Tuesday – Sunday: 11am – 6pm
Thursday: 11am – 9pm
77–82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX
T +44 (0)20 7522 7888
Nearest Underground station is Aldgate East
Related Exhibition EventsPlease note that booking is essential for all events. Book through Whitechapel Gallery, email email@example.com or telephone +44 (0)20 7522 7888
Tours: Government Art Collection
Wednesday 21 March & Tuesdays 24 April & 29 May 2012 6.30pm
Government Art Collection, Queens Yard, 179a Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7PA
Admission free, booking essential.
A chance to go behind the scenes at the Government Art Collection's central London premises to learn about the role of the collection and view the storage and conservation of works as they are prepared for display. Led by curators from the Collection.
Gallery Talk: Government Art Collection: Selected by Downing Street Staff: 12 From 10
Thursday 5 April, 7pm
Gallery 7 at the Whitechapel Gallery
Government Art Collection Curator Adrian George leads a tour of work selected by staff from 10 Downing Street for the fourth display from the Collection. With BSL Interpretation
Gallery Talk: Philippa Martin on: The Story of the Government Art Collection
Thursday 3 May, 7pm
Gallery 4 at the Whitechapel Gallery
A tour of the current archive exhibition recording the changing history of the Government Art Collection. With BSL interpretation.