Portraits of Prime Ministers

I was interested to read the attached account of Prime Minister’s portraits (see below).

When I went to the NPG in 1994, there was already the portrait of Attlee, but I don’t remember ever seeing it, and of Callaghan and Macmillan, both commissioned some time after they were in office.

I went to see Edward Heath who wanted to be painted by Lucian Freud; but Freud wouldn’t consider it. He didn’t mention that he had a good portrait by Derek Hill and I don’t remember seeing the portrait in his house in Salisbury. We commissioned John Wonnacott to paint John Major and caught the tail end of his time as Prime Minister (it’s the subject of a short chapter in my forthcoming book about Wonnacott). Then, we tried hard to get a portrait of Tony Blair early during his period of office. He originally wanted a drawing by Nicola Hicks, but the Sunday Times got wind of it and the plan was vetoed.

It’s far from straightforward and I think a pity if recent ones haven’t been done. Maybe they refused.



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