Official booklet to mark the unveiling on 21st February 2007 of the bronze statue of Baroness Thatcher sculpted by Antony Dufort for the House of Commons. Edited by Malcolm Hay, Curator of Works of Art, Palace of Westminster.
Clay for the portrait head of Margaret Thatcher, June 2005 (Photo: Antony Dufort)
“This historic commission is a very fitting way to remember Margaret Thatcher’s time in the House of Commons and I am very pleased to welcome the statue joining those of the other Prime Ministers of the 20th Century in Members’ Lobby.” Rt. Hon. Michael Martin MP Speaker of the House of Commons
Baroness Thatcher is the latest 20th Century Prime Minister to be represented in Members’ Lobby immediately outside the House of Commons Debating Chamber. This over life-size bronze statue by Antony Dufort recognises her contribution to British politics during her three terms of office as premier and records her rightful place in parliamentary history as the United Kingdom’s first woman Prime Minister. Her statue looks towards the doors of the Commons Chamber, facing that of Sir Winston Churchill by Oscar Nemon, which since the late 1960s has stood sentinel to this historic Chamber, its foot touched in the early years for good luck by Tory Members before giving speeches in the Chamber and more recently by all those visiting the House. Since then, statues of David Lloyd George and Clement Attlee have been added to this historic space, together with busts of James Ramsay MacDonald, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, Edward Heath, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Stanley Baldwin and Alec Douglas-Home. Above and right Antony Dufort and Baroness Thatcher at the sitting on 28 May 2004 (Photos: Matthew Tugwell)
The Parliamentary Art Collection of the House of Commons includes many painted and sculpted images of parliamentarians over the centuries, widely dispersed throughout the buildings of the Parliamentary Estate. Portraits of Prime Ministers line the Committee Corridor of the Victorian building, with more recent figures joining the House’s contemporary collection which is on display in Portcullis House. Members’ Lobby was chosen to display sculptures of Prime Ministers of the 20th Century, because of its pre-eminence as the portal to the Debating Chamber, the centre of political life. Both interiors were rebuilt during the late 1940s by the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott after the original Victorian Chamber and Lobby of the 1850s were destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War.
Commissioning the Statue The bronze statue was commissioned from the sculptor Antony Dufort in 2003 by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, under the then chairmanship of Tony Banks MP It was . agreed that Margaret Thatcher would be represented during her last term of office, 1987 - 1990, with the sculptor working from historic material as well as being given sittings from life. The current Chairman, and former Deputy Chairman, Hugo Swire MP and Members , of the Committee have overseen this project since 2005. “This is a very significant commission for the House of Commons. It is entirely appropriate that Margaret Thatcher’s premiership has been recorded in this way for future visitors to the House. I think the way in which Antony Dufort has succeeded in showing her mid-debate will strike a chord with all those - from all sides of the political divide who remember her oratory. I share Tony Banks’s view that history demanded this commission. I am only sad that he did not live to see the finished statue.” Hugo Swire MP
Above Antony Dufort and Tony Banks MP after the committee meeting in Portcullis House where the preliminary design for the statue was selected
The sculptor enlarges the full size clay of Baroness Thatcher from the half-size maquette, using a 3D ‘Pantograph’ (Photo: Antony Dufort)
Upper torso of the completed full-size...