Portrait of the Iron Lady auctioned

By Annie DavidsonA ROYAL portrait painter is to see his latest picture of Margaret Thatcher sold off for thousands of pounds.A host of events have been planned to mark the 25th anniversary of Lady Thatcher becoming Prime Minister.

By Annie Davidson

A ROYAL portrait painter is to see his latest picture of Margaret Thatcher sold off for thousands of pounds.

A host of events have been planned to mark the 25th anniversary of Lady Thatcher becoming Prime Minister.

They include a lavish dinner at the Savoy Hotel in London, during which the portrait by Richard Stone will be sold to the person offering the most in a sealed bid.


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Lady Thatcher has sat for Mr Stone, from West Bergholt, in the past, but the latest portrait was the idea of Anne Jenkin, wife of North Essex Conservative MP, Bernard.

Mrs Jenkin said she and her husband had been at a private viewing at Mr Stone's home and had been admiring an earlier portrait of Lady Thatcher.

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“Richard Stone said 'I would love to paint her again as my tribute to her',” said Mrs Jenkin.

“I thought nothing of it except I saw her and her secretary the following week and I said 'I have seen Richard and he would love to do you again'. She said yes and then I took responsibility for putting the whole thing together.”

The painting was officially unveiled last night and sold to whoever makes the highest sealed bid, with the bidding starting at £50,000.

One hundred limited edition prints are also being sold and all the money raised will go towards funding the campaigns for marginal seats in a General Election.

Mr Stone said: “I had been keeping my fingers crossed that I would be lucky enough to get another opportunity to work with Lady Thatcher. I had a marvellous time with her a few years ago.

“I turned it around in about two weeks and even as we speak I am putting finishing touches to it.”

He added: “I was extremely privileged to have her sit for me. I find her company absolutely fascinating.

“I have long been a fan of hers and so to spend so many hours in that great lady's presence was invigorating, stimulating and inspiring. She's tremendous.”

Mr Stone said he was “extremely flattered” at the minimum price for the portrait, adding: “It is nothing whatsoever to do with the picture itself, it is because people greatly admire Lady Thatcher.”

He has painted most of the senior members of the Royal family, including the Queen and the Queen Mother.

Mr Stone has also been commissioned to paint a picture of the Earl and Countess of Wessex's wedding to hang at Buckingham Palace.

The 10ft x 8ft canvas will be the companion piece of William Frith's 1863 picture of the then Prince of Wales' wedding.

Mr Stone has also been in Cape Town, South Africa, painting an official portrait of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

He is hoping that will lead to him fulfilling his ambition to paint a portrait of former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Archbishop Tutu has written to Mr Mandela on Mr Stone's behalf suggesting he sits for a portrait.

“I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will agree, but as with so many things during my career, it is a case of wait and see,” said Mr Stone.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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