'Time for a New Look at the Achievements of a Remarkable Man' as a War-Winning Prime Minister, David Lloyd George Is Regarded as One of the Most Successful Welsh Politicians of All Time. but on the 150th Anniversary of His Birth, Liz Day Asks Whether We Underplay the Importance of One of Britain's Great Statesmen

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 17, 2013 | Go to article overview

'Time for a New Look at the Achievements of a Remarkable Man' as a War-Winning Prime Minister, David Lloyd George Is Regarded as One of the Most Successful Welsh Politicians of All Time. but on the 150th Anniversary of His Birth, Liz Day Asks Whether We Underplay the Importance of One of Britain's Great Statesmen


EXACTLY 150 years after his birth, David Lloyd George has not been given enough recognition for his achievements.

That is the view of Professor Russell Deacon, a lecturer in history at Swansea University.

Although widely regarded as the most successful Welsh politician in history, Lloyd George has not been remembered with the same affection as other famous political figures.

Professor Deacon said the former Prime Minister polarised opinions.

"So much of his life has developed into myth and legend, much of which is good, but some of which is bad," he said.

The 150th anniversary of his birth has been marked with an exhibition at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay.

Prof Deacon, who opened the exhibition, said: "He was a controversial political figure to most voters and the exhibition has tried to explore the negatives as well as the positives."

Although born in Manchester, Lloyd George moved to Wales when he was just two months old and was proud of his Welsh heritage.

Prof Deacon said: "He was a Welshman and always proud of the fact that he was the only Prime Minister not to speak English as his first language."

Lloyd George is the only Welshman to have held the office of Prime Minister.

"During his career, he spent time with some of the most famous people in the 20th century, from emperors and dictators, to presidents and movie stars," said Prof Deacon. "But it was not their lives he was concerned with.

"He was concerned with bettering the lives of working men and women and that was where his political heart remained for his whole working life."

The exhibition, which took more than a year to plan, brings together portraits, political cartoons and archive posters, showing Lloyd George and his political contemporaries.

Welsh political artist Dan Peterson curated the exhibition and drew many of the portraits.

Mr Peterson said Lloyd George was an unsung hero.

"He was a hugely important figure, but he is not as well known as you might expect."

He added he had enjoyed drawing the politician.

"I love portraits because they can say so much. He is a very interesting person to draw. There is a sparkle in his eye.

"It is nice to draw people you have met, but I can get to know a person quite well by drawing them, even if I have not met them, and I feel I got to know him very well."

The exhibition aims to provide an overview of Lloyd George's career in politics.

"He was a remarkable character," added Mr Peterson.

"I hope the exhibition will help to raise his profile."

The exhibition also contains cartoons by JM Staniforth, who produced many cartoons of Lloyd George for the Western Mail in the early 20th century.

The Prime Minister regarded him as "one of the best political caricaturists of the day".

He said: "Although he invariably hits the party to which I belong and the ideas in which I believe, he does it with such wit and skill and with such unfailing good humour, that he always affords as much genuine amusement to political foes as he possibly can do to his political friends. …

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'Time for a New Look at the Achievements of a Remarkable Man' as a War-Winning Prime Minister, David Lloyd George Is Regarded as One of the Most Successful Welsh Politicians of All Time. but on the 150th Anniversary of His Birth, Liz Day Asks Whether We Underplay the Importance of One of Britain's Great Statesmen
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