The Big Draw at the Houses of Parliament 2013

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19 December 2013

Between 19 October and 2 November the Houses of Parliament took part in the annual Big Draw event for the first time. Artist Rachel Gadsden worked with members of the public to create four new artworks for Parliament. This family-friendly project was also part of the UK’s first ever Family Arts Festival.

The Project

Mosaics of the four patron saints based in Parliament’s Central Lobby were the focus of the project, with each saint representing each country in the UK, St George (England), St David (Wales), St Andrew (Scotland) and St Patrick (N. Ireland).

Participants took part in a 75 minute guided tour of Parliament, learning about the history of the building, its architecture and the artwork it contains, viewing the saint mosaics in situ.

Then, working with Rachel in the famous Westminster Hall, interpretations of the mosaics were created, using drawing and a variety of materials that encouraged people to look at the shape, colour and detailing found on the original works.

Over 370 individual pieces of artwork were created by 500 members of the public that took part. Each piece was photocopied (participants were able to take their originals home with them) and through painting and collage Rachel will create interpretations of four contemporary saints incorporating the contributing public drawings.

This project is sponsored by The Speaker’s Art Fund.

Further information

Thank you to everyone who took part in The Big Draw at the Houses of Parliament. We hope to get a completed set of images online for mid to late January.  If you would like us to email you when these go live please send your email address to – also please tell us if you would like us to keep your contact details so that we can email you about future events.

Image credit: © Rachel Gadsden

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The Speaker's Art Fund

The Speaker's Art Fund is a charitable trust. It came into existence in 1929 and sits alongside the Works of Art Committee and the Heritage and Works of Art Trust as a means by which the House of Commons acquires works of art.