Posted: Sunday, 31-01-2010
Mrs Gordon Brown, 47, has spent the last year working closely with officials to overhaul the art works on display in the private and official areas of 10 Downing Street.
Documents, released under The Freedom of Information Act reveal the former public relations executive has personally selected works for display in all parts of the building including the couple's private quarters and the Prime Minister's office.
Her choices, which have been described as surprising, unflashy but not particularly inspiring, provide an insight into her own personal taste as well as her relationship with her husband.
Several of her choices either celebrate Mr Brown's native Scotland or are by Scottish artists.
Mrs Brown chose Monarch of the Glenn by Gertrude Hermes for the couple's official residence. She has also selected works by Winifred Nicholson, the English artist who was bewitched by Scotland and painted some of her best work there.
In January she selected Nicholson's Flower Piece for the Prime Minister's office. Landscapes and nature are also a popular theme.
She has also chosen the equally calming Still Life: Flowers, which was painted by Stella Steyn in 1952, for the official residence.
Mrs Brown would appear to have eclectic taste and her selections include a mix of the traditional and contemporary.
She has also chosen a portfolio of prints called Green Electric Morning which was premiered at the Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh two years ago.
The prints, which are currently on display in one of the reception rooms, include a reproduction of the cover to the book The Riddle of the Pyramids by Kurt Mendelssohn, a piece called Falling Figures, a selection of slogans including Love Is Enough, Prison of Love and Cinema of Love and a picture of the actress Rita Tushingham who starred in a Taste of Honey and Dr Zhivago.
The Browns' favourite artist, however, would appear to be his fellow Scot Ian Hamilton Finlay who died in 2006. There are seven of the artist's works on display in reception areas in Downing Street. The works, which have been on display since May, include Ajar, Marine, A Rock Rose and Seashells.
Several of the artworks which have entered Downing Street since Mr Brown came to power have strong political themes.
A painting of Prince James Frances Edward Stuart also known as The Old Pretender by Alexis-Simon Belle has been hung in an official reception area.
The Old Pretender was the son of the deposed James II and as such the focus of the Jacobite movement. He declared himself the rightful King of England, Scotland and Ireland following the death of his father in 1701.
In 1708 he attempted an invasion from France where he had been brought up with the support of the French court. James attempted to land his invading army at the Firth of Forth but he was driven back by Admiral Sir George Byng.
Other works to have entered Downing Street since Mr Brown took over as Prime Minister include a painting of the architect William Kent by William Aikman, Tilly Kettle's Portrait of a Lady with a Dog and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerts.
The Browns have also found space for Still Life with Staffordshire Horse painted by Anne Estelle Rice in 1926.