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Role - Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art

The Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, established in the 1950s, is a cross-party group of MPs appointed by the Speaker to preserve the history of Parliament through art and advises on the management of the 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 began in the 1840s when large wall paintings and marble statues were added to the newly built Palace of Westminster. It currently has over 8,500 works of art, divided over the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

It’s 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 by consulting the Art in Parliament pages, where you can also search all the artworks in the Collection.

Terms of reference

The Committee's remit is:

  • to advise the Speaker on matters relating to works of art in the House of Commons
  • to purchase works of art from an acquisition budget funded by the House of Commons
  • to advise the Speaker, the Curator and other officials as appropriate on the management, care and interpretation of the Collection
  • to advise officials, as appropriate, on the decorative interiors of the Palace and other buildings on the parliamentary Estate

Image: Parliamentary copyright

Decisions

The Committee meets once a month; notes of its decisions are published online: