Julia Somerville appointed Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Government Art Collection


The Arts Minister, Estelle Morris, today announced the appointment of broadcaster, Julia Somerville, as Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Government Art Collection.


The Advisory Committee's role is to advise the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on the acquisition by purchase, gift or bequest and commission of appropriate works of art and to guide policy regarding the development and maintenance of the Government Art Collection.

Estelle Morris said:

'The Government Art Collection is a unique British cultural resource. Works of art from the Collection are displayed in British Government buildings both in the United Kingdom and around the world, playing a significant role in promoting British art and culture across diverse and international environments. I am delighted to announce the appointment of Julia Somerville who has extensive knowledge of the arts through her broadcast career and personal interests.'

Julia Somerville said:

'I have been passionate about art all my life and, therefore, I am delighted to have been invited to Chair the Advisory Committee of the Government Art Collection. I look forward to helping advance the work of the Government Art Collection in supporting, promoting and encouraging the display of British Art in significant government spaces.'


Notes to Editors


1. The Government Art Collection
The Government Art Collection places works of art in major Government buildings in the UK and around the world, promoting Britain and reflecting its history, culture and creativity in the visual arts. Works of art are also lent to exhibitions in public galleries and museums in the UK and abroad. Dating from 1898, the Government Art Collection now contains approximately 11,700 works of art, including oil paintings, watercolours, prints, sculptures, videos and textiles, which show the variety of British art from the sixteenth century to the present day. Artists represented in the Collection range from Hogarth and Gainsborough to internationally acclaimed contemporary artists Tony Cragg, Bridget Riley and Gillian Wearing.

The online database of the Government Art Collection currently contains information on over 6000 works. Almost all the paintings, drawings, sculpture and textiles in the Collection, as well as a substantial number of prints and photographs are available at http://www.gac.culture.gov.uk/.

2. Julia Somerville
Julia Somerville has had a long and broad career in broadcasting and print journalism. She was the main presenter on the BBC Nine O'clock News until moving to ITN in 1987 where she later presented ITN's News at Ten. The LBC radio show, 'London Life', which Julia presented between 1999 and 2001, was a daily two-hour program devoted to interviews with artists from all areas of the arts. 

Julia has a life-long interest in and appreciation for art and is an enthusiastic visitor to galleries and exhibitions in London, the regions and abroad. In 2001 she was a member of the judging panel for the National Portrait Gallery's BP Portrait of the Year competition and has served as a judge for several years on the RIBA Annual Architecture Award Panels. Julia lives in London with her two children and partner, architect Jeremy Dixon.

3. The current members of the Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection are: Penelope Curtis, Curator, Henry Moore Institute; Dr Richard Dorment, Art Critic; Margot Heller, Director, South London Gallery; Penny Johnson, Director, Government Art Collection, DCMS; Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery; Dr Charles Saumarez-Smith, Director, National Gallery; Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate; Dr Sarah Shalgosky, Curator, Mead Gallery; and Alan Davey, Director, Arts & Culture Directorate, DCMS. John Tusa steps down as Chair after 10 years. The Committee meets three times a year, and members are not remunerated.

4. Julia Somerville's appointment is for four years.

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