However, the most interesting work of art that has been displayed at 10 Downing Street during Johnson’s residence is Nicholas Garland’s set of linocut cartoons called Annabel’s (1985). Garland is a cartoonist who has affiliations with the same publications that defined the prime minister’s early career: Both have worked at the Daily Telegraph, where Johnson was a junior journalist and Brussels correspondent, and at The Spectator, where Johnson was the editor. The prime minister wrote the preface to Garland’s book on the 2012 London Olympics, Drawing the Games, which he was commissioned to document in drawing by the mayor of London (who, at the time, was Boris Johnson).
Garland’s set of 14 elegant prints, all in black and white (one is hand-colored in red), portray the life of an aristocratic nightclub in the mid-1980s. Annabel’s, which was founded in 1963 and is located in Mayfair, caters to the British elite and celebrities. Garland’s drawings show the tailored and floppy-haired punters of the day, often known as Sloane Rangers or Old Fogies, dancing, smoking, eating, and drinking.
A number of the pictures show the lascivious side of 1980s high society. The first print in the series, which appears above an introduction by Lucian Freud, depicts a young woman dancing with an older man. The 14th print shows a man dressed in an evening suit seducing a woman with a large perm. These prints are relatively tame and aesthetically engaging enough, but the institutional setting of 10 Downing Street and the context of cultural power make the series a questionable choice. What is being projected?