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Artworks from Herbert Go On Display in 10 Downing Street

​​The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum has loaned 10 artworks for display in 10 Downing Street through the Government Art Collection. The works tell a story of Britain and Coventry through 20th century paintings from the Museum’s 'British Life and Landscape' Collection started in the late 1950s by the Herbert’s first Art Director John Hewitt.

Bus Trip from the Pits (Seaton Carew), Margaret Green (1925-2003), 1956.          

The collection was formed to reflect the lives of people in Coventry and the landscape of modern Britain. Due to the large exhibition programme currently taking place at the Herbert, these works were not currently on display to the public – so the 10 Downing Street display enables some of the best works from the Collection to be on display outside of Coventry and encountered by new audiences over the next year.

The first display at 10 Downing Street features works by Mary Adshead, Dorothy Annan, Simon Barry, Jane Sutton, Nancy Upshall and Coventry Cathedral’s architect, Basil Spence, all of whom have a Coventry connection. The works depict the industry, architecture and people of Coventry and Warwickshire. 

Steelworkers, Roland Vivian Pitchford (1895-1982), 1940

The second display features works that show spaces of industry and leisure. A beach scene by Margaret Green is populated by a group of day-trippers from a mining village dressed in their Sunday best, whilst a serene café interior by John Fitton is ‘well within the experience of everyone’, according to Hewitt. Steelworkers is a striking example by the Official War Artist Roland Pitchforth, creating a stark contrast to Paul Nash’s sumptuous rural scene from the period between the Wars.

Displayed in two entrance areas of 10 Downing Street from 4 October 2021 for a year, the works will be seen by staff and visitors to the building.

Every year, for two decades, the Government Art Collection has worked with a museum or gallery collection from outside London to showcase artworks that celebrate a unique element of their collection. Coventry has been chosen for this year’s display to link with its title as Coventry UK City of Culture.

Café , James Fitton (1899-1982), 1948-1957

Francis Nielsen, Cultural and Creative Director of Culture Coventry, said “We are incredibly excited for works from our collection that depict the lives and landscapes of Coventry and Warwickshire to go on display within 10 Downing Street as we celebrate our title as Coventry UK City of Culture.”

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson said: "It's brilliant that these paintings from the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum will be displayed in 10 Downing Street as part of Coventry UK City of Culture.

“These fascinating works will be enjoyed by staff and visitors bringing the story of the people of Coventry to an even wider audience."