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“David Lloyd George” by James Guthrie

"David Lloyd George" by James Guthrie

“David Lloyd George” by James Guthrie

“David Lloyd George” by James Guthrie depicts the British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922. This oil sketch was made in preparation for Guthrie’s great commission “Statesmen of the Great War.”

Lloyd George (1863 – 1945) had originally been a supporter of British neutrality, but the German attack on Belgium, which led to the First World War outbreak, changed his mind.

As wartime Chancellor, Lloyd George strengthened the country’s finances and forged agreements with trade unions to maintain production.

In 1915, a Liberal-led wartime coalition with the Conservatives and Labour made Lloyd George a Minister of Munitions, and he rapidly expanded production.

In 1916, he was appointed Secretary of State for War but was frustrated by his limited power and clashes with the military establishment over strategy.

Amid stalemate on the Western Front, confidence in Prime Minister Asquith’s leadership waned, and he was forced to resign in 1916.

Lloyd George succeeded him as Prime Minister, supported by the Conservatives and some Liberals. He centralized authority through a smaller war cabinet and a new Cabinet Office.

To combat food shortages, he implemented the convoy system, established rationing, and stimulated farming. Against the views of his commanders, he was finally able to see the Allies brought under one command in 1918.

The war effort turned in their favor and was won in November. In the aftermath, he and the Conservatives maintained their coalition with popular support. His government extended the franchise to all men and some women.

Lloyd George was a major player in the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and served as Prime Minister until 1922 and a Member of Parliament until 19455

He declined an offer to serve in Winston Churchill’s War Cabinet in 1940 and was raised to the peerage in 1945, shortly before his death.

James Guthrie

Sir James Guthrie (1859 – 1930) was a Scottish painter, best known in his own lifetime for his portraiture, although today more generally regarded as a painter of Scottish Realism.

In 1919, Guthrie was commissioned by a South African financier to paint a group portrait of 17 politicians and statesmen of Britain and its allies who held office during the First World War.

The painting, “Statesmen of World War I,” was completed in 1930, shortly before Guthrie’s death. The painting was donated to the National Portrait Gallery, London. Guthrie’s 17 preparatory oil studies were also donated to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

"David Lloyd George" by James Guthrie

“Statesmen of World War I” by James Guthrie

“Statesmen of World War I” by James Guthrie was commissioned to commemorate Britain’s politicians and statesmen and its allies who held office during the First World War.

It is a group portrait of seventeen figures, some seated and some standing. As preparatory work, Guthrie painted a study of each subject separately; he held sittings between 1919 to 1921. 

David Lloyd George

  • Title:                David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, 1863 – 1945. Statesman
  • Artist:               James Guthrie
  • Date:                1920
  • Medium:          Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:    101.6 × 101.6 cm (40 × 40 in)
  • Category:         Popular Portrait Paintings
  • Museum:         Scottish National Gallery

James Guthrie

Lloyd George’s War

A Virtual Tour of Portraits

David Lloyd George and the People’s Budget

Virtual Tour of the Scottish National Gallery

David Lloyd George speech in 1932

David Lloyd George A biography

~~~

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
– William Shakespeare

~~~


Photo Credit: 1) James Guthrie / Public domain

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