A host of wonderful women who have made their mark on British history will grace the walls of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in June when the London institution reopens following a three-year refurbishment. Pioneers such as the late fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and Diane Abbott, Britain’s first black female MP, are among 130 women featured in Work in Progress, a vast mural by Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake. The group portrait brings to mind the cover for The Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which Haworth co-created in 1967 with Peter Blake. But there have been grumblings about the striking new panorama. The Evening Standard newspaper reported that the Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns is unhappy that Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s first female prime minister, has been omitted. “Great British women come from every background, political party and corner of our country,” Jenkyns says. The NPG says a blank silhouette in the seventh mural panel allows visitors to “add their own choices to the work”. So while the artists might not be for turning, fans of the Iron Lady can just picture Maggie there.
Mural of great women at London's National Portrait Gallery gives Maggie Thatcher a miss
27 March 2023