A portrait has been painted of the Speaker of the House of Keys.

Juan Watterson said the painting is a ‘hugely proud moment’ at the unveiling in the Barrool Suite of the Legislative Buildings.

He was joined by members of his family, portrait artist Andrew Tift, members of Tynwald and former Speakers Steve Rodan and Tony Brown.

The payment made to the artist for the painting was £6,800, consisting of £6,500 in fees and £300 in expenses.

A further £380 was spent on getting the portrait from Mr Tift’s studio to the island.

Mr Watterson said it was ‘a privilege’ to have sat for the portrait. He went on to praise Mr Tift for the time, effort and ‘phenomenal attention to detail’ he had devoted to the portrait’s creation, which had begun in February 2020 and saw the artist take more than 500 photographs from which to work during lockdown.

He said: ‘I believe that to have come from a public sector housing background and then to go on to be elected by your peers twice to the position of Speaker of the House of Keys is testimony to the level of social mobility we enjoy in the Isle of Man.’

Mr Watterson added that the portrait not only reflected the tradition of the office of Speaker, which dates from 1758, but also celebrated the history and continuity of Tynwald.

Painter Mr Tift said: ‘I was delighted with the context for the painting – the House of Keys setting, the history, the symbolism, the continuity of Tynwald, the fantastic lighting – and I wanted to make a particular feature of the Speaker’s chair. It all came together very harmoniously and it has been a privilege to have been able to contribute to Tynwald’s series of Speakers’ portraits.’

Ahead of the unveiling, groups of art students from Ramsey Grammar School and Castle Rushen High School were given a conducted tour of the chambers that focused on portraits of former presiding officers.

Head of art at Ramsey Grammar School Martin Harrison said: ‘The students are currently working on a self-portraiture project, so to be able to visit Tynwald, see so many portraits and meet such a celebrated artist was a unique opportunity for them.’

Ramsey Grammar School student Louisa Boyes added: ‘It was really exciting to see the Speaker’s portrait and to get to meet a “real” artist. The way he’s painted the Speaker’s face and hands is amazing. It’s been an inspiring visit.’