Art: Force & Candor

During the splendorous presentation ceremony in big, drafty Westminster Hall last week, Parliament got its first look at the portrait it had commissioned as an 80th birthday gift for Sir Winston Churchill. The reaction was immediate, vehement, and split right down the middle of the aisle. "It's disgusting, ill-mannered," said Lord Hailsham. "A beautiful work, wonderful!" countered Nye Bevan. Privately the Prime Minister—whose distaste for modern art is well known—reportedly muttered: "It makes me look half-witted which I ain't." At the birthday ceremony he commented wryly: "The portrait is a remarkable example of...

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