Portrait of Kenneth Clarke

James Lloyd with Kenneth Clarke

A portrait of Kenneth Clarke, QC, MP, by James Lloyd was unveiled on 4 December 2007 in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House. It was commissioned by the Speakers Advisory Committee on Works of Art.


Kenneth Harry Clarke, QC, MP, was born in 1940 and educated at Nottingham High School and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. A barrister-at-law, he was called to the Bar by Gray`s Inn in 1963 and became a QC in 1980. His parliamentary career began in 1970 when he was elected as MP for Rushcliffe, in Nottinghamshire, a seat which he has retained ever since, making him one of the longest serving Members.

Kenneth Clarke's ministerial career started in 1979 and continued throughout the 18 years of Conservative rule, culminating in his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1993. He unsuccessfully contested the leadership of the Party on three occasions (in 1997, 2001 and 2005). In December 2005 he was appointed Chairman of the Party's Democracy Task Force and Chairman of the Joint Committee on Tax Law Rewrite Bills.

Of his portrait Clarke commented: "I have never sat so still for so long in my life, but I adopted a very relaxed and comfortable pose from which I studied my pictures on the wall. I like the portrait very much, but I am still trying to work out what it will tell other people about my personality."

Hugo Swire MP, Chairman of the Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art, said: "There was never any doubt in our minds that Kenneth Clarke should be represented in the art collection at the House of Commons. He has been a household name for decades, and has enjoyed a long and distinguished parliamentary career."

The artist - James Lloyd

James Lloyd was born in 1971, and held the Paul Smith scholarship at the Slade School of Art (1994-6) before winning the BP Portrait Award in 1997

Commenting on this commission, James Lloyd said: "At Ken Clarke's suggestion the painting was set in his home, giving a more domestic feel and allowing the surrounding bric-a-brac to become part of the portrait. Featuring prominently are several decorative birds, which, apart from helping to enliven the painting, relate to his interest in bird watching. Ken is seen as himself, without his trademark cigar, collection of hats or suede shoes. He looks rather wistfully out of the picture, but with a definite sharpness to him as if caught mid-thought and mid-sentence."

Related information

Art in Parliament

Explore the Parliamentary art collection that is displayed throughout the buildings of the parliamentary estate.

History of Parliament

Explore the history, building and collections of Parliament and the impact of Parliament on everyday lives over the centuries.

Parliamentary Archives

Visit the Parliamentary Archives online or in person to view historical records.

Virtual tours of Parliament

Parliament is developing a series of virtual tours. The first of these is a visit to the House of Commons Chamber and surrounding rooms. This tour uses Flash Player.

Visit Parliament

Parliament is open to all UK residents. They can watch debates or book a tour of the Commons or Lords Chambers.

Where do I go?

Lost in the wilds of Westminster? Find your bearings with our maps of the parliamentary estate and the surrounding area.

More on this subject