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.
Visit From Your Armchair
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.
Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.
Sculptures in 360°
See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.
David Hockney: Drawing from Life
Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.
Tell us more
Framed & unframed prints