Betty Boothroyd, Baroness Boothroyd

Betty Boothroyd, Baroness Boothroyd, by Brendan Kelly, 2014 - NPG 6982 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Betty Boothroyd, Baroness Boothroyd

by Brendan Kelly
oil on canvas, 2014
39 1/2 in. x 39 1/2 in. (1003 mm x 1002 mm) overall
Commissioned, 2014
Primary Collection
NPG 6982

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In this half-length portrait Boothroyd is shown in a red jacket, wearing a gold brooch depicting a portcullis, designed by the sitter to commemorate her time in the House of Commons. The frame incorporates Boothroyd's coat-of-arms, including her personal motto 'I speak to serve'. Boothroyd sat for Kelly in his London studio, where the artist took a large number of reference photographs. During their first meeting Boothroyd told the artist that it was important he understood she was ‘a fighter’ and to 'paint me as you see me'. Using digital technology, Kelly slightly manipulated the image to create a composition which conveyed his sitter’s smart appearance and charisma, but also her defiant attitude – key to her success as Speaker. This commissioned painting is a sensitive and perceptive response to a politician who was one of the most prominent women in Parliament in recent decades.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Pioneering Women, p. 165

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