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Margaret Thatcher

10 of 54 portraits of Margaret Thatcher

© Brian Griffin

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Margaret Thatcher

by Brian Griffin
bromide print, 1986
10 in. x 10 in. (252 mm x 254 mm)
Purchased, 1989
Primary Collection
NPG P415

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Brian Griffin (1948-), Photographer. Artist of 36 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 311 Read entry

    Member of Parliament for Finchley since 1959, Margaret Thatcher was elected Leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, in succession to Edward Heath, and has been Prime Minister since 1979. She has now spent a third of her parliamentary career as premier. Born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the daughter of a grocer, she read chemistry at Oxford, and, after four years as a research chemist, was called to the Bar in 1954. She first achieved government office in 1961, and between 1970 and 1974 was Secretary of State for Education and Science. A conviction politician of the greatest energy and determination, she is the most controversial figure in modern British politics. With her faith in the free-market economy and the enterprise of the individual, she has brought about wide-ranging social and economic changes, the full significance of which remains to be assessed.

    Brian Griffin, photographer, poet, performance-artist and self-publicist, was born in Birmingham, and, after working for some years in the engineering industry, studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic (1969-72). Highly prolific, his work has been seen in many exhibitions in Britain and abroad, including ‘Twenty for Today’ (1986) and a one-man show ‘Work’ (1989) at the National Portrait Gallery, and in numerous magazines. Above all, however, he is associated with Management Today, and his series of portraits of businessmen. The best of these have a surreal, almost subversive quality, which is, however, shrewdly managed, and never allowed to undermine his subjects. This portrait of the Prime Minister in hard hat is characteristic. It was commissioned by Rosehaugh Stanhope Developments PLC as part of a series of photographs of management and workers commemorating their massive Broadgate development scheme in London.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 611

Events of 1986back to top

Current affairs

Hampton Court Palace is devastated by fire. Much of the third floor and the roof of the building were destroyed, although, thanks to the courage of the fire fighters, only one painting and one piece of furniture were ruined.
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, marries Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey.

Art and science

Poems on the Underground, the brainchild of American writer Judith Chernaik, is launched by London Underground. A rolling programme of poems is displayed in tube train carriages, bringing contemporary and classic poetry to commuters.
The Independent Newspaper is first published.
Artists, Gilbert and George win the Turner Prize.


An explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station leads to nuclear meltdown in the reactor and causes massive nuclear contamination over Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, western Europe, the UK and Ireland, and even North America. The 2005 Chenobyl Forum attributed 56 direct deaths to the disaster and estimated that 9,000 people may die from some form of cancer as a result of exposure to radiation.

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