Artwork - The Rt Hon Tony Benn MP

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  • Title: The Rt Hon Tony Benn MP
  • Artist: Andrew Tift
  • Date: 1998--
  • Medium: Acrylic painting
  • Dimensions: 150.2cm (h) x 140.6cm (w) x - (d) x - (dia)
  • Categories: Portraits
  • Catalogue number: WOA 4761
  • Description: Andrew Tift works in a highly detailed, intensely realistic manner and aims for an absolutely pure and objective likeness. Specific environments and narrative objects are often extremely important ingredients to his portraits as they can help reflect and reinforce the sitter\'s identity.Tift seeks to convey people in the most understanding, intimate and sympathetic way and strives for perfection with every commission that he takes on. Further commissions for the House of Commons include Sir Patrick Cormack FSA MP and Neil and Glenys Kinnock. Within the painting of Tony Benn are a variety of objects all chosen for their significance to Benn in both his personal and political life. Amongst these items is; a bust of Marx, a mug with \'red tape\' given as a gift by a trade union leader, a blood sample to prove he didn\'t have \'blue\' aristocratic blood but red blood like everyone else and he sits upon a chair once owned by Keir Hardie.

    Tony Benn was the third of four successive generations of the Benn family to become Members of Parliament. Having inherited a hereditary peerage which hindered his political career Benn tried several time to renounce this title. He finally succeeded following the The Peerage Act 1963, allowing renunciation of peerages, which Benn had campainged for. After John Parker, Benn is Labour\'s longest serving member of parliament. He is known as one of the few UK politicians to have become more left-wing after holding ministerial office. In 1991 he erected a plaque in the broom cupboard in the Commons crypt to commemorate the Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who hid there over the night of the 1911 census in an attempt to claim residency in the Palace of Westminster to highlight the fact that women did not have the vote. Benn retired from the House of Commons at the 2001 general election \'to spend more time in politics\' suggesting that for him \'real politics\' is about struggle rather than parliamentary procedure.

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