The imposing political identity Paul Lennon has returned to the halls of Tasmania's Parliament.

A portrait of the 42nd Premier now hangs alongside those of his predecessors.

Mr Lennon used its unveiling to say he was very proud of his political record.

Mayors, past and present MPs, business people and forestry personalities attended the ceremony.

Mr Lennon told them he could not have achieved what he had without his colleagues, especially his best friend and political ally the late former Premier Jim Bacon.

"That period of 10 years between 1998 and 2008 was a significant rebuilding of community confidence in Tasmania, that was the task we had, things were pretty desperate back then," he said.

"And so you can imagine how much I'm thinking about him today ... and it's a great honour for me to be hung now, in this Parliament, forever, near him."

More gruff than his polished predecessor, Mr Lennon's portrait is life-sized.

The Premier, Lara Giddings, says it perfectly captures her mentor, a man who never sought to be Premier.

"The Paul Lennon that I knew was very different to the Paul Lennon that the public thought they knew," she said.

Artist Geoffrey Dyer says he has "unmasked" Mr Lennon.

"I was aware that I was painting someone who was probably cartooned and dealt with in pretty harsh terms, he's been thrown left hooks and jolts," he said.

"When I saw him, I thought this isn't really the man I knew. So that's what you have here."

"Ten years in the fast lane in government ... certainly took it out of me and it wasn't until I left office that I realise how much it had taken out of me," Mr Lennon said.

He remains self-assured.

In the portrait the red-headed politician is standing, with a navy blazer draped over his broad shoulders.

Dyer says Mr Lennon first came to him in a lumber jacket.

"With checks on it," Dyer said.

"I don't know what that was meant to represent, but I did know that there was no way I was going to spend all this time painting checks."

The Archibald Prize-winning artists says you should not read much into the oil painting's dark background.

"You could be smart and say Paul had a dark side, but I don't think like that, that's just the way it happened."

Paul Lennon's just happy his wife Margaret likes it.

"My wife says he's captured me very well and that's what's important to me now."


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