Portrait of Rt. Hon. Robin Cook acquired for the House of Commons collection

Portrait of Rt. Hon.Robin Cook

Fionna Carlisle 2005

A portrait of the late Rt. Hon. Robin Cook was unveiled yesterday by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Michael J. Martin MP. The reception was attended by Mrs Gaynor Cook, Mr Christopher Cook and Mr Peter Cook. The portrait is an important new acquisition for the House of Commons Collection. Painted by Fionna Carlisle during the months before Robin Cooks death in August 2005, it depicts the Parliamentarian informally, with his two dogs Tammy and Tasker, named after the Scottish whiskies Tamdhu and Talisker. He chose to wear his racing clothes and asked the artist to include in the background two prominent Edinburgh references, Musselburgh Racecourse and the Firth of Forth. By his hand is a copy of Hansard, dated 17 March 2003, the day he resigned from the Cabinet over the decision to go to war with Iraq.

Hugo Swire MP, Chairman of the Speakers Advisory Committee on Works of Art, said We are delighted to have obtained this important picture for the Collection. Robin Cook was a Parliamentarian whose reputation grew over the years and it is quite proper that we should have an image of him. I am certain that this iconographic portrait will become one of our most popular images with the public.

Fionna Carlisle said He was a joy to paint - a challenging and rewarding sitter, who was very generous with his time. I found him witty and easy company and he took a keen interest as the painting progressed. He wanted his smile in the portrait to show a happy and contented man, which is how he felt.