Lennon at ease on wall of  Parliament House

THE portrait of Paul Lennon that was hung in Parliament House yesterday was described by its painter as the depiction of a former premier who is at ease.

Mr Lennon looks relaxed in the large oil painting  but still strikes an imposing figure against the black background.

Tasmanian painter Geoff Dyer said that initially Mr Lennon showed up for a sitting wearing a lumberjacket, but he wasn't keen on painting the fiddly checks.

Instead, Mr Lennon has been captured wearing slacks, a plain jacket and a shirt that is open at the collar.

``What I was trying to do was see Paul Lennon as he appeared in my studio without the obvious exaggerations and cartooning,''  Dyer said.

``This is a portrait of a former premier at one of the most critical times in our political history, who has come out the other side.''

A portrait of the late Jim Bacon was temporarily moved to make way for the unveiling of the $25,000 artwork. Mr Lennon said he could not help but think of the man who he took over from as  premier.

``We achieved a lot together, with our colleagues, and it's a great honour for me now to be hung here, in this Parliament, forever, near him.''

Mr Lennon named three regrets from his time in Parliament: failing to get the pulp mill project up; no new Hobart hospital; and a lack of public housing renewal.

In reflecting on his achievements, he said: ``I was always known in politics for being very pro-development and very strong on economic change, and getting big projects up. But the thing that gave me the most self-satisfaction was actually getting the agreement of the Parliament to get the stolen generation compensation through.''

Premier Lara Giddings paid tribute to Mr Lennon, who  mentored her during her early days in Parliament.

``(He is a) man who at times comes across as quite gruff, but a man who never actually sought to be premier. He had to step up into those shoes when Jim Bacon had to resign,'' Ms Giddings said.

``The Paul Lennon that I knew was very different to the Paul Lennon that the public thought they knew, and it's great to see a portrait that I think shows the sort of person he is but also the depth of quality that he has.''

The portrait will join those of every other former premier dating back to the 1930s that are in the Parliament House collection, with the exception of David Bartlett.

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