Parliament: Art Works

The Senior Deputy Speaker written question – answered on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Greaves Lord Greaves Liberal Democrat

The Senior Deputy Speaker what plans there are, if any, to survey statues, pictures and items on display on the Parliamentary Estate to assess whether (1) their display is appropriate, and (2) further explanatory materials are required.

Photo of Lord McFall of Alcluith Lord McFall of Alcluith Chair, Freedom of Information Advisory Panel (Lords), Chair, Hybrid Instruments Committee (Lords), Chair, Liaison Committee (Lords), Chair, Committee of Selection (Lords), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Lords), Chair, Sub-Committee on Leave of Absence, The Senior Deputy Speaker, Chair, Hybrid Instruments Committee (Lords), Chair, Liaison Committee (Lords), Chair, Procedure and Privileges Committee, Chair, Committee of Selection (Lords), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Lords)

The Lord Speaker’s Advisory Panel on Works of Art and the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, with the support of the staff in the Heritage Collections team, develop and manage the Parliamentary Art Collection including its care, display and interpretation. The current concerns around public art are being taken very seriously and both the Panel and the Committee will consider these issues at their next meetings.

In advance of this the Heritage Collections team are reviewing the works in the Collection and will be presenting the Panel and Committee with information and proposals for further interpretation. The Parliamentary Art Collection website is currently the main platform for providing context to the artworks in the Collection and further supporting information is provided to visitors by the Visit Parliament team, who deliver guided and audio tours. As a listed building and a busy working parliament, there is a limit on the amount of printed information that can be added next to artworks on display in the building but the possibilities for leaflets and other forms of information being made available are being considered. The Heritage Collections team continue to work with colleagues across Parliament to ensure that the context provided about works in the Collection are appropriate.

The Parliamentary Art Collection documents the history of Parliament and in recent years efforts to make the Collection more diverse and inclusive have been pursued by both the Panel and Committee. In 2019 the Panel secured the loan of a bust of Lord Constantine, the first black Life Peer, from the National Portrait Gallery to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his taking his seat in the House of Lords. The bust is now on long term display in Millbank House.

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