Artist wanted to portray Margaret Thatcher’s humanity in bronze bust to be displayed at Grantham Museum

The bronze bust of Margaret Thatcher by Lisa Hawker which will be on display at Grantham Museum from April 4 to mark the first anniversary of her death.
The bronze bust of Margaret Thatcher by Lisa Hawker which will be on display at Grantham Museum from April 4 to mark the first anniversary of her death.
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A bronze bust of Grantham-born former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will be displayed in the town’s museum to mark the first anniversary of her death.

The bust by Lisa Hawker will go on display from April 4 until April 30. ‘Margaret’ will be publicly exhibited for the first time at the museum. There is currently only one artist copy available. It is anticipated that ‘Margaret’ will be produced in a limited edition of nine, with two artist copies eventually. The cost of each copy at 2014 prices is £25,000.

Lisa was inspired by the success of her bronze bust of the 18th Century poet and novelist Robert Buchanan for Southend Borough Council. She then set about creating a likeness of the most iconic woman in British politics, the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher.

Lisa said: “What I love about portraiture, whether painting or three dimensional, is the way you can really inject personality into the subject, or at least that is what I intend to do; to add an energy to the work. To attempt to create a likeness of one of the most powerful and instantly recognisable people in the world, without playing on the stereotypical, has been one of the greatest challenges of my career to date”

Researching her life was an incredibly important part of making ‘Margaret’. Lisa began by reading her biography, studying archival photos and watching hours of video footage.

She said: “Mrs Thatcher’s public image was carefully contrived, particularly in the early days and while it lent her the confidence and the powerful image she could use, to lead the country, it also had a dehumanising effect, allowing her to be seen as more of an entity, or stereotype, than as a person.”

Lisa wanted to strip away the caricature status and compose a portrait that would show the woman behind the politician and for this reason she chose to omit the ‘power’ suit, and pearls.

“Mrs Thatcher’s formal public image was in a way self inflicted; her career required her to portray power but I wanted to present another view, one which showed the woman, the human being”

Lisa sculpted the bust over four months, before having the piece forged into bronze. “Margaret Thatcher was an awesome woman and leader, whatever view you have of her politics. Before her critics condemn her so ferociously it should be remembered that she was human, one of us. I hope that my work, above all else conveys her humanity and spirit, and transcends political barriers.”