Since 1939 the British Council has been collecting works of art, craft and design to promote abroad the achievements of the very best British artists, craft practitioners and designers. The Collection - which began with a modest group of works on paper - has now grown to a assembly of more than 9,000 artworks, from paintings and prints, to drawings, photography, multi-media and installations that represent all aspects and media of British art of XX and XXI centuries.
British Council Collection includes works by renowned artists such as Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Damian Hirst, Richard Deacon, Sarah Lucas, Partick Caulfield, many of which were acquired at the beginning of their artistic careers. The Collection has no permanent exhibition space, and is referred to as a 'Museum Without Walls'.
Artworks from the Collection are used to create exhibitions for our international touring exhibition programme which cover both solo exhibitions and group shows. Artworks not included in the programme may be lent to other major museum and gallery exhibitions in the UK and overseas. Artworks are also displayed in the British Council’s cultural centres in over 100 countries around the world; many are displayed in our offices here in the UK, and a number are placed on long loan to museums and galleries overseas to enhance their holdings of British art.