The National Gallery of London recently revealed a new oil portrait of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, otherwise known as Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007.
The Gallery had commissioned Alastair Adams, the president and a highly reputed member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RSPP), to complete a number of artworks featuring Tony Blair. The oil portrait the Gallery unveiled, will hang in the National Portrait Gallery, to form part of the house’s collection of portraits of all former British Prime Ministers.
Although former PM Blair’s photographs already hang in the National Gallery, including the Jonathan Yeo portrait displayed in the Great Hall of London, Alastair Adams’ Tony Blair oil painting is the first since the former PM resigned from office; aside from being the first Tony Blair painted portrait added to the museum’s National Portrait Gallery.
Alastair Adams Captured PM Blair’s Uncompromising Gaze as a World Leader
In a four by three feet oil painting, Alastair Adams presents a dramatic close-up of the former UK Prime Minister, who is best remembered for initiating various public sector reforms, negotiating the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement, as well as for UK’s highly controversial involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Contemporary Curator of the National Portrait Gallery, Sarah Howgate, remarked that Mr. Blair’s direct gaze in the portrait is uncompromising; reflecting his commendable skill as an effective negotiator on the global stage. Ms. Howgate takes pride in commenting that
”The Gallery, through Alastair Adams’ skill as a Royal Portrait Painter, is now able to present Tony Blair by way of a portrait consonant with the personality of a person who has considerably shaped the political, cultural and economic climate of Great Britain”
At first, the former UK-PM notoriously refused to sit for a painting session after he stepped down from a position that only he, had occupied for the longest term in the history of British politics. In the spring of 2011 the Ex-Prime Minister eventually relented, and agreed to sit for Alastair Adams in his Buckinghamshire home; sans a tie and without his trademark mug of tea.