Portrait of Margo MacDonald unveiled at Scottish Parliament


Margo MacDonald’s legacy within Scottish politics has been commemorated at the Scottish Parliament as a painting of the late politician was unveiled.

The portrait, painted by the popular Scottish artist Gerard Burns, was gifted to the Scottish Parliament by Margo MacDonald’s husband, Jim Sillars. Burns’ work pays tribute to Margo MacDonald’s forty-year commitment to politics during which she was a vociferous campaigner.

The painting was unveiled by Deputy Presiding Officer, Christine Grahame MSP. The Deputy Presiding Officer said:

“Having known Margo for many years, I am delighted that her dedication to the Parliament is being honoured with this portrait. Her sheer passion for politics and for the causes she championed will always be remembered, as will her dynamic, colourful and compassionate nature.

“I count myself lucky to have known someone like Margo and to have worked so closely with her. This portrait is a way of showing future Members and visitors to the Parliament just what she meant to us all.”

The Deputy Presiding Officer was joined at the unveiling by Jim Sillars and Gerard Burns.

Jim Sillars said:

“In many ways Margo was a unique person and politician, and an inspiration to those who sought to advance the cause of Scotland. Our family is pleased that her portrait will be hung in the Parliament to whose life and development she contributed with a talent that was exceptional."

Gerard Burns explains:

“I was thrilled when Jim approached me to paint Margo. I felt very honoured. I had always been a real fan. As a politician, Margo always struck me as having great clarity of judgement and real integrity. No-one ever put words into Margo’s mouth and she was her own person.

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the Sillars family on Margo’s portrait and it has been a real labour of love. My only hope is that the Sillars are thrilled by it and I have managed to do her justice."


Margo MacDonald was a Member of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 until her death in April 2014.

Gerard M. Burns is a renowned Scottish artist whose previous works have included portraits of several, well-known Scots from the likes of Billy Connolly and Ewan McGregor to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP.

The portrait of Margo MacDonald has been gifted to the Scottish Parliament’s art collection by Jim Sillars.

Members of the public can see the painting on a Scottish Parliament art tour which explores the Parliament’s art collection and the relationship with the building. The next art tours take place on Saturday 24 September at 3.30pm.

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