It will come as little surprise to the public that the government owns a substantial portfolio of art. Given that museums and galleries such as the British Museum and National Portrait Gallery form part of the public sector, neither is it surprising that some such works of art are of significant value, and few would begrudge the government holding on to objects of genuine cultural and historical significance for the public.
However as this research reveals, the public sector’s art collection extends far beyond the most famous galleries and museums, and very little of it is on display to the public at any one time.
Much of this art may have been bequeathed to the government specifically to be put on public display and selling it off would be inappropriate. However at a time when savings need to be made across the board, it’s important that public bodies assess what they do and do not need to hold on to and act accordingly.