Nick Clegg was Leader of the Liberal Democrat party from 2007-2015 and served as Deputy Prime Minister in the first UK coalition government since the Second World War. He was the first Liberal party leader to join the government in 80 years.
The portrait marks his significant contribution to parliamentary and political life and will be displayed in Portcullis House alongside portraits of other notable parliamentarians, including previous Liberal Democrat leaders Charles Kennedy, Paddy Ashdown, and Menzies Campbell.
Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, said:
“Nick Clegg’s role in forming the first coalition government of the twenty-first century, and in leading the Liberal Democrats, as well as his more than ten years’ service as an MP, made him an obvious choice for representation in the Parliamentary Art Collection. I am pleased to unveil the portrait for the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art before it goes on permanent display in Portcullis House.”
The portrait was funded by the Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art and Brendan Kelly accepted the commission for the reduced fee of £9,000.
Brendan Kelly's work is held in a number of national collections in the UK including the National Portrait Gallery, where he has two portraits. His portrait of the current Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, hangs in the Speaker’s State Rooms.
He studied at the Slade School in London for a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and was commissioned to go to Afghanistan as a war artist in 2006. He has won a number of awards including at the BP Portrait Awards and at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, of which he is a member.
Brendan Kelly describes the painting:
“The brushwork is dynamic to suggest a man in a position of power and authority whilst the mood and lighting is softer to capture his essential humanity as a family man.”
Other recent acquisitions by the Works of Art committee include: Adam Dant’s election artwork “The Government Stable”, a portrait of former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, a photographic print of Winston Churchill following his address to the Canadian Parliament in 1941, a portrait of the early feminist campaigner Caroline Norton, and a wooden artefact of a nineteenth century mass political organisation, the Primrose League. All previous Deputy Prime Ministers - a list that includes Clement Attlee, Sir Geoffrey Howe and Michael Heseltine - are represented in the collection.