Political portraits

NT Live present this week online the glorious political drama THIS HOUSE – a tale of Westminster treachery, deals and betrayals set in 1974. The Lowry’s Creative Team share with you other art that explores similar themes.
Political portraits

This House begins in 1974, with Harold Wilson’s minority Labour Government clinging on to power, and ends in 1979, as Margaret Thatcher is coming to power. 
Although the audience never see either figure, or any other major players such as Ted Heath and James Callaghan, they are all an immutable presence throughout and the turbulent times they preside over is mirrored by the turbulence of Parliament.

It was a period of deep uncertainty and Harold Wilson himself was a figure who was at once a dominant political character, but also someone with an air of mystery about him. 

This was captured in a portrait of Wilson, painted in 1974, by Ruskin Spear.  This work is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery and you can read Jonathan Jones’ perceptive analysis of the portrait here.

Also in 1974, famed portrait photographer Yousef Karsh photographed Margaret Thatcher,  who had joined the Shadow Cabinet and was working towards a run for party leader (she was elected Conservative Party leader the following year).