Arts Council Collection: Acquisitions

How We Work

“The spine and the backbone of national art is the Arts Council Collection. It collects artists at a young age and supports them at a tender time, usually broke and up against it. In the early stages of establishing who knows what, the Arts Council Collection made it clear that it wanted to talk seriously and collect liberally with a wide and enlightened mind. A rare thing today. My work, 'Seizure' was allowed to carry on by this enlightened ideal of a collection. 'Saved for the nation' was always an epithet that seemed premature for an artist of my age, but they had the foresight to challenge orthodoxy and protect a work now beyond my reach.”

Roger Hiorns | Artist

The Arts Council Collection supports and promotes British art and artists by acquiring their work at an early or critical stage in their career. With a focus on innovative work made by artists living in Britain our acquisitions policy is characterised by a spirit of risk taking combined with an informed appraisal of current practice.

The Arts Council Collection acquires new work through an annual acquisitions process. Between 2013 and 2017 the Arts Council Collection acquired 160 works by 111 artists.

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News: New Acquisitions Announced

See the full list of 45 works by 29 artists that we acquired for the nation in 2016-2017.
Gifts & Bequests

In addition to works purchased through the annual acquisitions process, the Collection has also received gifts through donations made by artists and their estates.
Acquisitions Partners

The Arts Council Collection acknowledges the support of Art Fund and The Henry Moore Foundation.



The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With nearly 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyondThis website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.