House of Commons in session

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Highlighted here is the earliest painting in the Collection of the House of Commons in Session, which dates from 1708-1710. By the 19th Century a fashion for large history paintings saw momentous debates in the Chamber celebrated on vast canvases. Meanwhile parliamentary sketches showing daily business in the Chamber appeared regularly as part of reporting on Parliament in journals. Throughout the 20th Century the tradition of artists recording Parliament in group paintings continued. In the ‘House of Commons 1986’ painting, due to space in the House of Commons Chamber, backbench Members were chosen by ballot to appear in the painting. 156 MPs failed to be chosen. In 1987 they commissioned their own group portrait ‘The other picture’.