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Straw keeps his head for portrait

Quite whether Jack Straw will relish being compared to a government minister who was eventually beheaded is unclear – but a new portrait of the Justice Secretary was unveiled yesterday with the revelation that it was inspired by a painting of Sir Thomas More.

Mr Straw is one of several public figures, including the entertainer Bruce Forsyth and the explorer Sir Chris Bonnington, whose likenesses feature in the annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. The show opens at the Mall Galleries in The Mall, central London, next month.

Emma Wesley, the artist who painted the Labour politician, said she was inspired by Hans Holbein's 1527 portrait of More, the eminent scholar and Lord Chancellor who was executed by Henry VIII.