Trade Unionists (Joe Gormley; Thomas Jackson; Sidney Weighell)

1 portrait

Trade Unionists (Joe Gormley; Thomas Jackson; Sidney Weighell)

by Hans Schwarz
oil on board, 1984
72 in. x 72 in. (1830 mm x 1830 mm)
Commissioned, 1984
Primary Collection
NPG 5749

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Sittersback to top

  • Joseph ('Joe') Gormley, Baron Gormley (1917-1993), President of the National Union of Mineworkers. Sitter in 8 portraits.
  • Thomas Jackson (1925-2003), General Secretary, Union of Communication Workers. Sitter in 6 portraits.
  • Sidney Weighell (1922-2002), General Secretary to the National Union of Railwaymen. Sitter in 8 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Hans Schwarz (1922-2003), Painter; sculptor; illustrator; author. Artist of 14 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Schwarz sketched the three union leaders individually in various locations before uniting them in the compositional setting of Trafalgar Square, a place where, he said, they might have met and also somewhere near, but not quite in, the corridors of power. The figure in the background facing the viewer between Joe Gormley and Tom Jackson is a self-portrait of the artist.

The frame was made and presented by British Rail Engineering Ltd, Derby, to the artist's design.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 5793(1): Joe Gormley (study)
  • NPG 5793(2): Sidney Weighell (study)
  • NPG 5793(3): Sir Thomas Jackson (study)
  • NPG 5793(4): Trade Unionists (sketch) (Joe Gormley; Sidney Weighell; Thomas Jackson) (sketch)
  • NPG 5793(5): Trade Unionists (sketch) (Joe Gormley; Thomas Jackson; Sidney Weighell) (sketch)
  • NPG 5793(6): Trade Unionists (sketch) (Joe Gormley; Thomas Jackson; Sidney Weighell) (sketch)
  • NPG 5793(7): Trade Unionists (sketch) (Joe Gormley; Thomas Jackson; Sidney Weighell) (sketch)
  • NPG D196: Unveiling of NPG 5749 Trade Unionists (Joe Gormley; Sidney Weighell; Harold Wilson; Hans Schwarz) (includes the portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

Placesback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1984back to top

Current affairs

The Provisional IRA bomb the Grand Hotel in Brighton where various politicians, including the Prime Minister, where staying for the annual Conservative Party conference. The bomb killed five people including a conservative MP, but no members of the cabinet. Thatcher began the next session of the conference the following morning at 9.30 as planned saying: 'all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.'

Art and science

Dr Alec Jeffreys discovers that patterns in an individual's DNA can be identified and that each person has a unique 'genetic fingerprint'. The technique was soon utilised by forensic scientists to help in criminal investigations, and in order to identify human remains, for paternity testing, and to match organ donors.
Ted Hughes is appointed poet Laureate.


Ethiopia suffers severe drought and famine. The Ethiopian government responded by uprooting large numbers of peasants in the worst affected areas and by setting up new villages for the displaced people. However, the planned villages were frequently poorly equipped and many people chose to flee rather than acquiesce with government plans leading to further decline in food production and bringing the total death toll to over 1 million.

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