by Leonard William McComb
oil on canvas, 1999
71 3/4 in. x 50 in. (1822 mm x 1270 mm)
Commissioned with help from the Dame Helen Gardner Bequest, 1999
Artistback to top
- Leonard William McComb (1930-2018), Artist. Artist of 6 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.
This portraitback to top
McComb produced this portrait over the course of ten sittings at Lessing’s home. He provided the chair but the carpet in the background and the carving of an aardvark (colloquially-named 'anteater' in South Africa) are Lessing’s own.
Linked publicationsback to top
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1999back to top
Current affairsFollowing referendums in 1997, The Scottish Parliament is opened and Welsh Assembly established in 1999. The new Scottish Parliament has the powers to pass legislation and alter tax. The Welsh Assembly currently has less legislative authority but controls a budget for Wales and can amend legislation passed by Westminster.
The House of Lords Act removes all but 92 Hereditary Lords from the second chamber.
Art and scienceTom Stoppard and Marc Norman's film, Shakespeare in Love wins the Oscar for Best Picture. The film, starring Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Judi Dench, Geoffrey Rush, and Colin Firth, among other British screen stars, provides a fictitious account of the events that inspired William Shakespeare to write Romeo and Juliet.
InternationalNATO begins a bombing campaign against the government of Yugoslavia following the breakdown of the Rambouillet Accords that attempted to grant Kosovo autonomy within Serbia under NATO administration. After nearly three months of bombing, Slobodan Milosevic agreed to allow a peacekeeping force to enter Kosovo and the province was placed under a United Nations Interim Administration.
Make a donation
Support our Make History appeal and help us transform the Gallery.
A unique range of books, accessories and gifts. Every purchase supports the Gallery’s work.
Bring a familiar face home
Refresh your home gallery with a huge selection of custom art prints .
Tell us more
Framed & unframed prints
Choose your favourite portrait from our Collection as a framed or unframed print for your home.