The Ministry of Defence Art Collection is an extraordinary archive of works of fine art, prints, maps, photographs, manuscripts, sculpture and antiques, including furniture and clocks. Many of the items have been in the possession of either the Admiralty or the War Office for several hundred years. Many paintings and objects have been bequeathed or donated to the Armed Forces and some, including paintings by artists accompanying Captain Cook, were commissioned by the Admiralty.
Nearly all the Collection’s greatest works of art are on long-term loan to Museums and Galleries around the country, in order to maximise opportunities for public visibility. The paintings and artefacts displayed within operational bases and Defence headquarters sites are a permanent reminder to today’s Armed Forces that they follow in a long and glorious tradition of public service. Although the Collection is dispersed throughout the country – and indeed beyond – the entire archive serves as a continuing and tangible reminder of the history of the evolution of the United Kingdom.
Unfortunately, security restrictions prohibit routine public access to Ministry of Defence sites. However, many buildings participate in the annual Open House sessions, and many more paintings can be seen at the Museums to which they are on loan. Access to specific pieces can be arranged by contacting the MoD Art Collection management team via our website.