Artwork - Baroness Williams of Crosby

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  • Title: Baroness Williams of Crosby
  • Artist: Victoria Russell
  • Date: 2007--
  • Medium: Oil painting
  • Categories: Portraits
  • Catalogue number: WOA 6590
  • Description: Victoria Russell trained at central St Martins and the Royal Academy and went on to win first prize at the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in 2000. Amongst her portrait work have been commissions of Baroness Usha Kumari Prasha, the Queen of Denmark HM Margrethe II, Fiona Shaw and Baroness Onora O\'Neil. It took five months to complete the Baroness Williams portrait, which measures 94cm (width) by 110cm (height) in its frame. Commenting on the process of painting Baroness Williams, Victoria said; \'...many people had told me what a wonderful person she is and how much integrity she has….. I caught sight of how she lives her politics, how her politics are not separate from who she is and her daily life. It was a great privilege to work with Shirley and my intention throughout the process was to capture this integration of the political and the personal in the completed portrait.”

    Baroness Williams\'s father, the political scientist Sir George Catlin, was a Labour Party activist and her mother was the writer and pacifist Vera Brittain. After years of high office in Labour administrations, Williams resigned from the Labour party to become one of the "Gang of Four" who founded the Social Democratic Party in 1981. This later merged with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats. In 1993 she was raised to the peerage as Baroness Williams of Crosby, Stevenage in the County of Hertfordshire. Subsequently she became leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords from 2001 to 2004.In June 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed Williams to his government as advisor on Nuclear Proliferation. Of the portrait Williams said; \'“I was very pleased and indeed surprised, to be asked to sit for this portrait and I am very honoured to be joining the very few women represented within Parliament\'s Collection. I selected Victoria to paint my portrait as I liked the directness and honesty she gave to her other sitters. Victoria is an extremely honest artist and the portrait she has painted is a very good painting, and very candid.”

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