Elected as a Conservative MP in 1938. He was appointed President of the Board of Trade in 1951, and was the youngest member of Winston Churchill's cabinet. In 1957 he became Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was in favour of government cuts to control inflation, but his view did not prevail, and he resigned the following year. He returned to the Cabinet in 1960 and held a number of posts in government and in opposition, before losing his seat in the 1966 general election, when he entered the House of Lords as Baron Thorneycroft of Dunston. A strong supporter of Margaret Thatcher's monetarist policies, she made him Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1975, a position he held until 1981.Painted towards the end of the distinguished Australian artist's career, the portrait makes reference to the Blue Streak intercontinental ballistic missile, developed by British scientists during the 1950s. Cancellation of the missile's testing programme in Australia caused dismay at the loss of investment, and it fell to Thorneycroft as the incoming Minister of Aviation, to broker civilian use of the missile as a satellite launcher.
Where to see this painting?
National Portrait Gallery, London
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