Portrait of Tony Blair in relaxed mood exhibited for first time


Nick Clark
Monday 05 May 2014 10:53

This is Tony Blair as he is rarely glimpsed: relaxing at home in casual clothes.

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters is to display the never-before-seen portrait by its outgoing president Alastair Adams as part of its annual open exhibition, which launches this week at the Mall Galleries in London.

It shows Mr Blair, hands in his pockets, wearing jeans, a polo shirt and a jacket with what looks like a paint stain.

The ex-Labour leader is shown standing in front of the desk in his office at home in Buckinghamshire; behind him hangs a painting by artist Ken Howard, which includes the image of a Union Flag.

Mr Adams created the work while also painting a portrait commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), one that shows a close up of Mr Blair’s head and shoulders.

“I wanted to paint him as he was on a day-to-day basis when I visited to undertake sittings for the formal NPG commission,” Adams said. It was completed during the 2012 Olympics “and the strong presence of the Union Flag seemed to fit the occasion”.

Mr Adams, who is a lecturer at Loughborough University, is set to complete his six-year tenure as the society’s president later this year. He was the youngest person to hold the position in the society’s 123-year history.

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