Blair Captured by Artist
The first official portrait of Tony Blair has been revealed and is dominated by a Remembrance Day poppy - a symbol of the many wars fought while he was prime minister.
The portrait of Tony Blair by Jonathan Yeo which features the former prime minister wearing a poppy
Painted by Jonathan Yeo, son of the former Conservative minister, Tim, the painting was commissioned by the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn. Mr Blair had always insisted that he was too busy to sit for his portrait when he was prime minister.
Set against a blue backdrop, the viewer's eye is automatically drawn to the red poppy on Mr Blair's lapel. As prime minister, he sent troops into war four times, in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and, most controversially of all, Iraq.
Mr Yeo has painted Mr Blair before, during the 2001 election campaign, although he was unable to sit for an official painting.
Mr Blair, 54, was in a buoyant mood when he entered the artist's studio, and Mr Yeo said he thought he understood why.
"It was a few weeks into Gordon Brown coming off the rails. I can't help but think that his hugely positive good humour and Tigger-like energy might have had something to do with his successor having trouble in the job," he said.
The portrait will go on display at Lincoln's Inn in March, where it will hang alongside those of 16 other prime ministers, including William Pitt, Spencer Perceval, Herbert Asquith and Margaret Thatcher.