BARONESS MARGARET THATCHER
Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches, 2004
The first portrait of Lady Thatcher, sold on
behalf of the British Forces Foundation, 2001
A sitting for the 2004 portrait
I first painted Lady Thatcher for the British Forces Foundation in 2001 at her offices just off Belgrave Square. Her comment on seeing the final portrait was, ‘It’s just how one would wish to be remembered.’
It was sold at a private party at the Carlton Club, together with a limited-edition print to continue raising funds for the Foundation.
The inspiration for this portrait came from Anne Jenkin, the wife of Bernard Jenkin, MP for Northeast Essex. Aware of the success of the earlier portrait, Mrs Jenkin thought that it had possibilities as a fundraiser for the Conservative Party. Lady Thatcher was approached, and readily agreed to sittings, this time at her home.
The project was very fast-paced, and from ‘conception to birth’ was completed in the space of eight weeks – not only finished and framed, but actually sold at a reception for £256,000, with additional proceeds from 100 specially produced lithographs continuing to swell the Tory Party coffers.
It was interesting to observe that since Sir Denis Thatcher’s recent death, Lady Thatcher appeared more frail, but nevertheless there were many occasions during the five sittings when her well-known authority and fire resurfaced.
As the portrait developed, the expression I chose was that of a thinking, listening Lady Thatcher, with the aura of a statesman.