When Tony Abbott lost his seat in May, he also lost access to an artwork that accompanied his working days for a more than a decade - and which before that commanded the office of former prime minister John Howard.
The oil painting by Winston Churchill has, in a journey likened by Mr Abbott to an "apostolic succession", found its way from Churchill to Robert Menzies, to John Howard and finally Tony Abbott.
"There are two reasons for having an artwork. One is because you appreciate its aesthetic quality and another is because you cherish its association," Mr Abbott said of Cap D'Antibes, a painted scene of the French Riviera where Churchill reportedly spent his 40th wedding anniversary in 1948.
"Churchill is the greatest ever democratic politician - certainly the greatest ever democratic politician in the English-speaking tradition - and it's an honour to have anything of his in one's presence.
"And I think you'd draw inspiration from that in the same way that a Christian might draw inspiration from the relics of a saint."
Mr Abbott said we gain "a sense of connectedness with our mighty forebears if we have something of theirs in our presence", and he had felt particularly lucky to hang the Churchill work, which was "was splendid by association" with Churchill, who gave it to Menzies, who donated it to the national collection, where Mr Howard grabbed it for his office, and when he left then opposition leader Tony Abbott laid claim.
Cap 'D'Antibes now sits in the basement of Parliament House waiting for its new home, but not for long. While Justine van Mourik and her parliamentary collections team allocate artworks to the 227 offices on the hill, the painting has been snapped up already by Speaker Tony Smith.
Estimated by Ms van Mourik to be worth in the "low hundreds of thousands", it is among the more valuable in the collection but no means the most valuable (that is the Magna Carta).
Ms van Mourik describes the works designed for rotation through members' offices as a "furnishing" collection, "intended to be, for want of a better word, a sacrificial collection". The idea was to protect the highly significant works in places such as the National Gallery from use in parliamentary offices.
Works are allocated in order of seniority - from the prime minister (who gets as many as 60 or 80 pieces) down, with backbenchers allowed four framed works and one "craft object", and no, they can't swap the craft object for a framed one, and they come with instructions.
"We make it clear that it's an artwork as opposed to a bowl to that you throw your keys in or your fruit."
On Thursday, the new Minister for Regional Services and Decentralisation, Mark Coulton, had his turn.
He laughed when asked whether he had an eye for art. "No, I'm a boofhead," he said.
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
- Liberal Leader Scott Morrison would not say what artworks he has chosen. Labor Leader Anthony Albanese is yet to choose for his office, but his suite contains works he chose last term, including:
- Landing Lights Near Adelaide Airport, Richard Maurovic - reflecting his focus on infrastructure
- Study for on the Road, Trevor Nikolls - an indigenous work
- The Pond, Centennial Park, Christopher Lewis - from his electorate
But he decided carefully, choosing historical photographs with an eye for any from his New South Wales electorate of Parkes. Country scenes and places with which he had a connection made his shortlist. He chose an old photo of a horse being painted in stripes to look like a zebra, which won out over a scene of a barber shop in Walgett.
Mr Coulton knows what he likes, opening the first folder and quickly saying, "I don't think this is really me."
As a minister he is entitled to seven framed works and a craft object. He initially planned to keep a plate painted by an Indigenous artist that he had in the last term, but a tin sculpture of a kelpie dog caught his eye.
"My strategy is so when people come to the office they might get an insight into how I think and where I come from," he said. "You can see they are a bit quirky and also have a connection to the electorate," he said.
His office also includes a few pieces from his own collection, including a painting of his house by his daughter, a painting of two sheep dogs he used to have - "my former staffers". He has pieces by artists local from his electorate and by Aboriginal boys in Coonabanbran, showing a meeting between the boys and police.
Ms van Mourik said most members wanted a work representing their electorate and at least one indigenous artwork, with the indigenous collection growing fast.
Some members - such as Queenslander Warren Entsch who supports Queensland artists - bring their own. Some, such as the Turnbulls, they are collectors in their own right. Occasionally, they want no art. Some choose on colour.
"I could go buy cutting edge avant-garde and scary installations, but no-one wants that in their offices," Ms van Mourik said. Rather, the collection is are designed for contemplation, meditation and inspiration.
"Overwhelmingly the majority of people want big, happy and bright. There's not a lot of call for small, dark and sad."
Once a member has their hands on a work - as with Abbott and the Churchill painting - they can keep it so long as they are in parliament. And some do.
"People have carried paintings with them for a long time," Ms van Mourik said. An example? Bronwyn Bishop, who left politics in 2016, held a Charles Dixon painting The Landing at Gallipoli, 1915, in her office since about 1994, despite a call for it to be on public display.
Sometimes, politicians get so attached they want to buy the work when they leave. The answer is always no.