A few weeks ago I was very excited to be invited by the House of Lords Works of Art Committee to submit works for consideration for display in the newly refurbished offices and communal areas of Millbank House.
The works were required to fulfil a number of specific criteria, in particular that the subject of the work of art represented the UK in some way – whether it be a representation of an area of the UK or an aspect of its cultural, technological or industrial heritage or its flora and fauna.
Putting together a suitable portfolio of work was extremely challenging but great fun and eventually I selected a group of nine artists, submitting a total of 20 works. I tried to select a variety of works that would fulfil the selection criteria and also work well as a group.
"Where Turner once Sat" by Emerson Mayes
Works by Emerson Mayes of Fountains Abbey and by Anja Percival of Durham Cathedral were selected to represent the architectural heritage of UK.
"Cathedral Light IX" by Anja Percival
Esther Tyson's wonderful bird paintings represented the UK's flora and fauna.
"Goldfinch on Feeder" by Esther Tyson
Irene Sanderson submitted some of her beautiful Chinese ink paintings of the landscapes around her home in Cumbria and Patricia Haskey Knowles from Lancashire submitted a dramatic seascape of Morecambe Bay. Paintings of the west coast of Scotland and the North York Moors were submitted by Jim Wright from Kirkbymoorside.
"Cross Fell Heather" by Irene Sanderson
"Approaching Storm - Morecambe Bay" by Patricia Haskey Knowles
"Chimney Bank Rosedale" by Jim Wright
Lynne Wixon's exciting work based on coastal structures combined studies of specific regions of the UK with references to our industrial heritage.
"Whitby West Pier" by Lynne Wixon
And finally Linda Farquharson's quirky linocuts added a touch of humour, depicting the very British sports of croquet and bowls!
"Running the Hoops" by Linda Farquharson
After a very eventful trip to London with the portfolio of work, involving cancelled trains, unhelpful taxi drivers and getting lost in a less than salubrious area of London, I spent 2 weeks with my fingers crossed, hoping that I would not have to make another trip back to London to collect all 20 works.
Last week I got the excellent news that 17 of the works had been selected! This was a much better result than I had dared to hope for and I then had the very pleasant task of letting the successful artists know the good news.
It's really thrilling to think that so many works by artists I know are now in the permanent collection of the House of Lords! Thank you to all the artists involved for their time and hard work.