Government-owned masterpieces to be publically displayed for first time in East End gallery

A rare chance to see the famous paintings which adorn the walls of British embassies and government buildings across the world is being presented in the East End.

The renowned Whitechapel Gallery has just kicked off an exhibition of works from the British government’s extensive art collection.

Pieces by celebrated Mancunian artist L.S Lowry, a 16th-Century portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and others by Tracey Emin and Derek Boshier are to be shown to the public for the first time.

For over 100 years the government art collection has acquired more than 13,500 paintings and sculptures dating from the 16th century to the present day.

The pieces, from more than 400 official British buildings across the world, have never before been brought together in a public display.

Political heavyweights including Nick Clegg, Lord Mandelson and the Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron are among those to have selected the works.

There will be five exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery in total and this, the first, runs until September 4.