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The Honourable Ellen Fairclough sitting for the artist Elizabeth Holbrook. About 10 sittings were given, all within the Minister's office, September 1959.

The holdings of freestanding sculpture within the Heritage Collection of the House of Commons are composed primarily of statues and busts of former parliamentarians. The majority of these sculptures, of which 12 are shown in this section, were gifts presented to the House of Commons. The remaining two pieces discussed here are representative of a smaller number of sculptural pieces that were purchased by Parliament.

In most cases, the artworks were initiated by the sculptors themselves, commissioned by political associates, or purchased by an organization, family members or friends of Members for presentation to Parliament.

The image on this page is a good example of this process. It shows artist Elizabeth Holbrook working on a model for a portrait bust of the first female federal minister: the Honourable Ellen Louks Fairclough, who was the Member of Parliament for Hamilton West from 1950 to 1963. The completed bronze bust, initiated by the sculptress in 1959, was exhibited for a period of time at the Art Gallery of Hamilton before being purchased by the Zonta Club of Hamilton: a service association dedicated to advancing the status of women. The Zonta Club purchased this piece for the House of Commons to commemorate the Centennial of Confederation. It was formally presented to Speaker Lucien Lamoureux on February 6, 1967.

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