Assembly Artwork

Over the years a number of paintings have been commissioned to capture some of the historic moments in Parliament Buildings.


"The House will divide" - By Noel Murphy

The House will divide

The portrait shows the Assembly during a division as Members gather to enter or leave the voting lobbies. All 108 current Members are included as well as the late Mr Tom Benson who died in December 2000, Mr John Hume MP MEP and the late Mr Arthur Doherty , who resigned their seats on 1 December 2000 and 31 August 2002 respectively. Also included in the portrait are some Assembly officials.

Belfast artist Noel Murphy was commissioned to undertake the work. The painting, which is in oil on canvas and measures 4'6 x 8', hangs in the Senate Chamber in Parliament Buildings. The artist used photographs, video footage and personal sittings to paint the individual portraits. The Speaker, Lord Alderdice, unveiled the painting on 10 February 2003.

The inspiration for the portrait of the Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly came from William Conor's depiction of the State Opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921 by His Majesty King George V in Belfast City Hall.


State opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921 - By William Conor

State opening of the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921 - By William Conor. The painting was unveiled in 1922.

William Conor, a distinguished artist was appointed to paint the Opening of the First Northern Ireland Parliament by King George V on 22 June 1921, in the Council Chamber in Belfast City Hall.

The painting, which is in oil on canvas and measures 2'9 x 4'6, now hangs in the Senate Chamber in Parliament Buildings. Conor used a black and white photograph to enable him to position the Members of the House of Commons correctly as they faced His Majesty King George V. The painting was unveiled in 1922.

Historical sources claim that Conor received a cheque for £131. 6s. 0d for the painting, a figure which fell far short of the original £200 that had been agreed.


Portrait of Mr Seamus Mallon MP MLA - By Rita Duffy

Portrait of Mr Seamus Mallon MP MLA painted by Rita DuffyThe portrait of Mr Seamus Mallon MP MLA which was painted by Belfast artist Rita Duffy, is on permanent display in the Members' Dining Room in Parliament Buildings.

The Assembly Commission decided that portraits would be painted of all retiring First Ministers and Deputy First Ministers. Mr Mallon held the position of Deputy First Minister from July 1998 until his retirement in November 2001.

The portrait measures 5' x 3'6 and is in oil on canvas.


Portrait of Lord Alderdice - By Carol Graham

Portrait of Lord Alderdice by Carol GrahamFollowing his retirement as Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 29 February 2004, representatives of some of the main political parties in the Assembly proposed the commissioning of a portrait of Lord Alderdice in recognition of his significant contribution to the establishment and work of the Assembly. The proposal was approved by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Paul Murphy MP, acting in lieu of the Assembly Commission.

The portrait, which was painted by Ms Carol Graham, is in oils on canvas and measures 6' X 4'6", was unveiled on 11 March 2005. It hangs in the Members' Dining Room in Parliament Buildings.


Portrait of Mark Durkan MP

Portrait of Mark Durkan MPThe portrait of the former deputy First Minister, Mr Mark Durkan, was painted by Irish artist Conor Walton and was commissioned by the Assembly Commission in recognition of his role as deputy First Minister from 2001-2002.

The painting, which is oil on canvas, hangs outside the Members’ Dining Room and was unveiled by the former Speaker of the Assembly, Mr William Hay (now Lord Hay of Ballyore) on 28 May 2012.


Portrait of The Rt Hon The Lord Trimble

Portrait of The Rt Hon The Lord TrimbleThe portrait of the former First Minister, David Trimble (now Baron Trimble of Lisnagarvey) was painted by Irish artist David Nolan in oil on canvas. It was commissioned by the Assembly Commission in 2011 to mark Lord Trimble’s time in office.

The portrait was unveiled by the former Speaker of the Assembly, Mr William Hay (now Lord Hay of Ballyore) on 20 February 2012, and hangs outside the Members’ Dining Room near the portrait of his deputy First Minister, Mark Durkan.


Portrait of Eileen Bell

Portrait of Eileen Bell

In November 2011, a portrait of former Speaker of the Assembly, Eileen Bell, was unveiled by the former Speaker Mr William Hay (now Lord Hay of Ballyore). The portrait, which was commissioned by the Assembly, was painted by Conor Walton, who also painted the portrait of former deputy First Minister, Mr Mark Durkan.

The oil on canvas portrait is located in the Members’ Dining Room where it can be viewed by those dining in Parliament Buildings.


Portrait of The Rt Hon The Lord Bannside of North Antrim

Portrait of The Rt Hon The Lord Bannside of North Antrim

On 28 June, 2010, the former Speaker of the Assembly, Mr William Hay (now Lord Hay of Ballyore), unveiled a portrait of the former First Minister Lord Bannside (formerly Rev Dr Ian Paisley) by Irish artist David Nolan. The portrait was commissioned to celebrate his time as First Minister and to honour his years of service.

The oil on canvas portrait, which shows Lord Bannside in a characteristic coat and hat, now hangs on the first floor where it gives the impression that he is watching over the Great Hall.


Portraits of Seamus Heaney and C S Lewis

Portraits of Seamus Heaney and C S Lewis Portraits of Seamus Heaney and C S Lewis

Portraits of two of Northern Ireland’s literary greats and native sons were unveiled on 24 November 2015.

The portraits of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis were painted by local artist Ross Wilson. Each portrait features a quote which has relevance to the journey that Northern Ireland has undergone.

Heaney's quote is "Believe that a further shore is reachable from here" while CS Lewis's is "There are far better things ahead than any we can leave behind".

The portraits were commissioned by the Assembly Commission after receiving proposals in November 2013 that the men whose writing has received universal acclaim should be recognised within Parliament Buildings.

The portraits hang between the Great Hall and Senate Rotunda where they can be viewed by visitors to the Assembly.

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