Artwork - The Parliamentary Union of England and Scotland 1707

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Artwork
  • Title: The Parliamentary Union of England and Scotland 1707
  • Artist: Walter Thomas Monnington
  • Date: 1925 - 1927 [Date painted]
  • Medium: Oil painting
  • Categories: British history
  • Catalogue number: WOA 2599
  • Description: The English and Scottish commissioners present articles of agreement for the Parliamentary Union of the two countries to Queen Anne at St Jame's Palace in July 1707.

    An initial suggestion for the panels in St Stephen's Hall was made by Sir Charles Barry in 1843 for 'Great domestic events in British history'. The scheme never went ahead despite Daniel Maclise being commissioned in 1857. The area was lined with marble statues of statesmen on either side of the hall in the 1850's; celebrating the rich, historical and parliamentary past in this part of the palace, which prior to the fire of 1834 had held the debating chamber of the House of Commons since 1547. Due to financial restraints, it was not until 1909 that work finally started on the mural scheme through sponsorship from the Royal Academy. One painting was completed by Gow of Holles and Valentine Holding the Speaker in his chair which was hung in the Hall in 1912. By 1924 only two more paintings had been added. Speaker Whitley then intervened to consider the whole approach to the scheme, and an informal committee was established in 1925 which included the Speaker, the First Commissioner of Works and the chairman of the Royal Fine Arts Commission. 'The Building of Britain' scheme was decided on and the artists were chosen, the final paintings were unveiled on 28 June 1927 by the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.

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