Arts Council Collection


The Arts Council Collection is the largest loan collection of modern and contemporary British art in the world. With over 7500 works of art spanning more than sixty years, the Collection can be seen in exhibitions and displays at home and abroad, as well as through long-term loans to public buildings across the UK.

The Collection, which was formed in 1946, includes works by major British artists of twentieth century and continues to acquire innovative and significant work by emerging artists today. Through its policy of adventurous and timely acquisitions, responding rapidly to developments in artistic practice, the Arts Council Collection is exemplary in its scope, vitality and eminence.

The Arts Council Collection is managed by the Hayward Gallery, South Bank Centre on behalf of Arts Council England and is based at the Hayward in London and at Longside, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. As a collection ‘without walls’, it has no permanent gallery; however, changing displays of sculpture, video and installations from the Arts Council Collection are regularly on view at Longside Gallery.



Acquisitions are made through the recommendations of a committee, comprised of an artist, critic and writer who work alongside the Head of the Collection, the Curator and the Director of Visual Arts, Arts Council England on steering the acquisitions policy and purchasing of works for the Collection.


The Arts Council Collection has acquired a number of works through gifts, the most significant of which have been the Saatchi Gifts. In 1999, the collector Charles Saatchi donated one hundred works of art to the Arts Council Collection, including works in a variety of media by many of the artists who played an essential part in the ‘young British Artists’ phenomenon of the 1990s. Among the sixty-four artists are Richard Billingham, Glenn Brown, Martin Creed, Siobhán Hapaska, Mariele Neudecker, Jane Simpson and Kerry Stewart. In 2003, Charles Saatchi donated a further thirty-four sculptures to the Collection, including works by Marc Quinn, Gary Webb, Jordan Baseman and Richard Wilson which can be seen at the entrance to the Gallery