About this artwork

In 1924 Ramsay Macdonald became Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary of Britain's first Labour government. Born in Lossiemouth, Moray, he was the son of a local girl and a Highland ploughman who never married. He lived in poverty for much of his early life. This first Labour administration only lasted a few months and was troubled by industrial unrest culminating in the General Strike of 1926, which Ramsay Macdonald had done his utmost to avert. Painted in 1926, this is a curiously private image of a public figure during a particularly turbulent phase of his career.

Ambrose McEvoy

Ambrose McEvoy

Ambrose McEvoy was born in Wiltshire. James McNeill Whistler spotted his talent early on and encouraged him to enroll at the Slade School of Fine Art in London when he was fifteen. At the Slade he was part of the group around Augustus John and William Orpen. In 1900 he became a member of the New English Art Club, with whom he exhibited landscapes and interiors. Later in his career he established a reputation as a portrait painter of fashionable society beauties.