The Prime Ministers Art

It's a perk and a problem of being at No 10 - new Prime Ministers can choose the pictures for their homes but then have to face the judgment of the critics. Margaret Thatcher liked Turner and Constable. John Major (or his wife, Norma) had a passion for Hockney, and Blair favoured Damian Hirst back when he was a Brit Art wildchild. Now The Mail on Sunday has seen some of Gordon Brown's selection of art for the flat where he, Sarah and their young sons will live. The verdict? Inoffensive, middle-of-the-road and, pointedly, south of the border - nothing to set the tea-cups rattling. There's more than a hint of political correctness in the carefully assembled group of paintings that reveal little about Mr Brown's genuine tastes and much about his meticulous, studied character. Robin Simon, editor of the British Art Journal, said: "These are paintings for people who don't like pictures or aren't particularly interested in art. "It's the bland leading the blind. There are a couple of very good works but in total this is a civil servant's selection of ruthlessly boring, unadventurous paintings." Mr Brown made his selection from the Government Art Collection which mostly comprises British works from the 16th Century to present day. Said Mr Simon: "It seems such a missed opportunity - to rifle through the Government collection and come up with this when there are such treasures, such real masterpieces there to be viewed. "It's interesting that they are all landscapes, which can be code for "safe". They're very uneven in quality and appear to have been selected according to the criteria of not clashing with the wallpaper." Whether by design or accident - and the latter seems unlikely - the most interesting and valuable work that will hang in the Brown's flat is a painting by Euan Uglow. Uglow, who died in 2000, was one of Britain's greatest figurative artists, a friend of the Blairs and notorious for having painted Cherie in the nude when she was a young law student. To see the rest of the paintings and for full source and article click the Headline). Irish Art