A tribute in oils

[l-r Councillor Kevin Guy, Lord Don Foster, Harriet Dahan-Bouchard Councillor Shaun Stephenson McGall]

Another picture is added to the galleries lining the walls of the Guildhall.

It’s a painted portrait of the Rt Hon The Lord (Don) Foster of Bath that has been officially unveiled to commemorate his long service to the city.

Baron Foster was the longest-serving Bath MP in the modern era, elected to represent the city five times at Westminster for 23 years from 1992 to 2015.

The charming, informal portrait is by local artist Harriet Dahan-Bouchard. Having been to school in Bath, Harriet was classically trained in Florence in Italy, and is now back in the city and specialising in portraiture.

The portrait in the Guildhall is a copy of one commissioned by friends and presented to Lord Foster and his late wife, Tor, on the occasion of his retirement.

It was unveiled by Baron Foster and the chair of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Councillor Shaun Stephenson McGall, at a ceremony attended by Harriet Dahan-Bouchard and other civic dignitaries.

Council leader, Councillor Kevin Guy, said: “Lord Foster is, and always has been, a great advocate for Bath. He was a hands-on constituency MP during his years in Parliament and this is a fitting tribute to all those years of public service.”

Councillor Shaun Stephenson McGall, chair of Bath & North East Somerset, said: “I was delighted to join Baron Foster to unveil the portrait which honours his long public service to the city of Bath and which now hangs in the Guildhall near the South door.”  

During his years in Parliament, Don Foster held a number of roles, particularly in the areas of education and culture.  In 2012, after serving on the Board that delivered the Olympics, he became a Minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government. He later became the Coalition Government’s Deputy Chief Whip and attended Cabinet meetings.  

Don Foster stood down as MP for Bath ahead of the 2015 General Election and was made a Liberal Democrat Life Peer later that year.  He is an active working peer. He chaired the Rural Economy Committee and is currently a member of the Communications & Digital Committee. He founded and chairs Peers for Gambling Reform. Other areas of special activity and interest include broadcasting and building safety.

Harriet Dahan-Bouchard has been working on a portfolio of international clients while an Artist in Residence at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.