At the time this portrait was created, Boshier was living in New York and was in regular contact with his fellow-artist Malcolm Morley, with whom he had studied at the Royal College of Art. On visiting Morley's studio, Boshier made a drawing of him on the back of an envelope. This image formed the basis of the present painting that was then completed from memory. Boshier has written, 'it's very important to me to paint someone when they are not there, to use my imagination. Otherwise you paint only physiological likeness...' The split image motif refers to comments made by others to Boshier about Morley's divided character: one part polite, the other confrontational.
Margaret Thatcher makes one of her most famous speeches, living up to her nickname of 'the Iron Lady'. The speech was given to the Conservative Party conference in Brighton in response to the media speculation that the party would go back on its counter-inflationary policies: 'The lady's not for turning!'
Art and science
John Lennon is murdered on the steps of his house. After fatally shooting him, Mark David Chapman calmly sat down on the pavement and waited to be arrested by police. Chapman had a history of mental illness and claimed that he had committed the murder as a way of getting attention.
Iraq invades Iran, beginning eight years of conflict. The invasion followed years of border disputes, but was precipitated by the 1979 revolution in Iran and the resulting instability which Saddam Hussein saw as an opportunity to expand Iraqi influence in the region. Despite early gains for Iraq, the conflict soon descended into a war of attrition with huge causalities caused by Iraq's use of chemical weapons.