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Feature: Exhibition - The slide show at Swiss Cottage library from February 16-29

Works by Patrick Caulfield


Published: 19 January, 2012

They are jointly owned by every householder in Camden, and once upon a time, before the cost of insuring them went through the roof, Camden Council ran an art library where you could sign up and then borrow works to hang on the walls of your community centre, arts space or library.

Now the council has put online nearly 100 examples of artworks owned by the Town Hall – and they include pieces by Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Derek Jarman, Eduardo Paolozzi, John Piper, Philip Sutton and Patrick Caulfield.

The collection would grace the walls of any gallery – and the Town Hall is now running a poll to choose 30 of the pieces to hang at an exhibition at Swiss Cottage library in February.

A slide show showcasing the works is currently running at the library and viewers can vote for the ones they want to see in the flesh in the exhibition.

How the Town Hall’s vaults came to be stuffed with such valuable works is not always clear. There is no record as to how the Hockney and Hepworth pieces came to be owned by the council – but it is believed the borough was given them when the Greater London Council was scrapped by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

The GLC had an extensive collection and handed over pieces to boroughs that had a connection to an artist.

Others were bought by far-sighted officers: pieces by maverick film director Derek Jarman cost £100 when he was still a student at the Royal College of Art.

Yet more were donated by artists themselves as legacies, or were bought by the Town Hall at auction as part of the art library programme.

• The slide show runs until February 12 at Swiss Cottage library, 88 Avenue Road, NW3, and the exhibition will run from February 16 till the end of the month


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