20th Century Parliamentarians

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The 20th Century was marked by two World Wars and radical changes to the social and political structure of Britain. The Labour Party gained popular support throughout the century, and the period after the Second World War was dominated by Labour and Conservative administrations.

In the 1980s a new initiative was begun to acquire for the Collection images of recent and living parliamentarians whose contribution to politics and political life was considered notable. This was the beginning of the Contemporary Collection and over the next two decades many images were added to the Collection. These included Tony Benn, Michael Heseltine, Roy Jenkins, John Smith, Enoch Powell and Barbara Castle. Attention also turned to filling gaps from previous decades, in order to represent important post war politicans such as Rab Butler and Aneurin Bevan.

Both the House of Commons and House of Lords have continued the tradition of commissioning group portraits of the House in session. These document successive memberships of both Houses.