Britain’s prime minister bought the painting of this symbolic moment

Sign away.
Sign away.
Image: Reuters/Christopher Furlong/Pool
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

On March 29, 2017, Britain’s prime minister Theresa May signed a document triggering Article 50, kicking off the two-year negotiation period for the UK to leave the EU.

Photographers captured May in the pivotal moment, sitting underneath a painting of Britain’s first prime minister, Robert Walpole, and consequently artist James Drake turned it into a portrait painting (paywall). Lord Moynihan, a former business minister who went to Oxford University with May, arranged for the picture to be presented to her.

However, May had to partially pay for the artwork, which is valued at £250 ($350), herself under the government’s ethics code. She contributed £110, because there is an £140 limit on gifts before ministers have to pay to keep them.