Theresa May's 'barnstorming' portrait divides opinion: 'She doesn't deserve it'

Theresa May's 'barnstorming' portrait divides opinion: 'She doesn't deserve it'
Theresa May pretends to fall asleep during Brexiteer’s Commons speech
UK Parliament

Theresa May, the former prime minister, has had a fancy £28,000 portrait done of her to be hung up in the parliamentary office building Portcullis House – and like with most artwork of high-profile figures, it’s divided the internet.

In artist Saied Dai’s portrait, commissioned by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art, Ms May can be seen holding a lily of the valley, a plant associated with the month of May.


Mr Dai said of the artwork: “In this portrait, the aim was to produce not just a convincing physical likeness, but also a psychological characterisation, both individual and yet archetypal – imbued with symbolism and atmosphere.

“A good painting needs to be a revelation and also, paradoxically, an enigma. It should possess an indefinable quality – in short, a mystery.”

Befitting of the second female PM who was dubbed the “Maybot” for her robotic demeanour, then.

The painting took around a year to complete, based on three sittings, and Ms May herself has said the portrait is a “huge honour”.

“It’s a fascinating process, and I enjoyed the sittings when I learnt so much about the artist’s approach.

“I am thrilled with Saied’s interpretation. I’d like to thank him for this portrait and for the thoughtfulness and care he put into the painting,” she said.

Tory MP Dean Russell, who chairs the aforementioned advisory committee, added: “The Parliamentary Art Collection records those who have made an important contribution to politics and public service here in the UK.

“Few embody this more than Theresa May – our second female prime minister, as well as a devoted parliamentarian and a dedicated public servant.”

Naturally, Twitter/X users had some fun with the painting:

And her portrait isn’t the only piece of art to gain traction on social media in recent years, with artwork of Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Liz Truss, Cristiano Ronaldo and even Jesus Christ all raising eyebrows in recent years.

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