Artwork - Tony Blair

Search collection
Advanced search
Artwork
  • Title: Tony Blair
  • Artist: Phil Hale
  • Date: 2008 [Date painted]
  • Medium: Oil painting
  • Dimensions: 135.6cm (h) x 105.5cm (w)
  • Categories: Portraits
  • Catalogue number: WOA 6791
  • Description: The only formal portrait of Tony Blair to be painted whilst he was Prime Minister. It was commissioned by the Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art in the House of Commons. The sittings took place at Chequers shortly before he left office in June 2007.



    Tony Blair served as Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007, and became Leader of the Labour Party in July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. The Labour Party's landslide victory in the 1997 General Election ended 18 years of government by the Conservatives. Tony Blair became the Party's longest-serving Prime Minister, leading Labour to three consecutive General Election victories. Stepping down as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007, he was appointed by the UN, US, Russia and the EU to his current role in the Middle East, working as Quartet Representative.

    Phil Hale is one of a group of artists, which also includes Justin Mortimer, Brendan Kelly, and James Lloyd, who have come to recognition via the National Portrait Gallery's annual portrait show. Hale's work is largely figurative, with the emphasis on the isolated figure and often with a strong confrontational element.

    Of painting Mr Blair, Phil Hale commented:

    'I saw my role as a documentarist, and tried-accordingly-to remain as transparent a presence as possible. Any filtering or shaping would have distorted and devalued the piece; it had a very pure set of demands and limitations. Blair himself was very accommodating-I was lucky to see him at Chequers, and lucky that he had more pressing concerns than prettifying himself for a picture. I think we were well-balanced in that sense-he didn't perform, and I didn't divine.'

  • Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service (PPCS):
  • Copyright:

    Full copyright information