Belfast Telegraph

Priceless art we never knew we owned... paintings from the Government's (taxpayer-funded) collection come to Belfast

By Anna Maguire

A selection of masterpieces owned by the taxpayer – but rarely seen in public – is coming to Northern Ireland.

Most of us have never caught a glimpse of these classic works, even though we all technically own them.

But today this art collection never seen outside the corridors of power in the UK's embassies will be displayed in Belfast.

The works have notched up thousands of air miles over the years, hanging on the walls of embassies in Tokyo, Baghdad, Washington DC and Libya.

Now they are coming to the Ulster Museum, the last stop of a three-leg tour which also took in London and Birmingham.

The collection of 160 paintings and sculptures traces an artistic lineage from a 16th century portrait of Queen Elizabeth I – previously displayed at the Ministry of Justice – to Mancunian artist LS Lowry's modern masterpiece, Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook, recently exhibited at 10 Downing Street.

Government Art Collection: At Work will open at The Ulster Museum on Friday, and remain on display until June 9. For more information visit

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