Saturday, 20 October 2012


While in London this week I also visited The National Portrait Gallery and saw The Queen: Art and Image exhibition, inspiring me to draw my own portrait of her when I got home.

The collection shows the diverse representation of "one of the most portrayed people of all time", speaking loudly about the changeable perceptions of the monarchy over the last 60 years. The tones of images range from gravitationally austere to playful, overall showing the queen as a graceful, glamorous and sturdy woman and leader. It was interesting to see just how much she has been used as a symbol throughout her reign, particularly being subject to a treatment of artifice - by Andy Warhol, Cecil Beaton, Gerhard Richter etc. and becoming somewhat of a commodity much like the bank notes she occupies.

As part of a generation who has had little relationship with HM growing up (other than my granny having her on commemorative plates) I think this year her diamond jubilee forged a fresh feeling of affection and association to her as a unique figure who positively represents our country across the world.

My favourite image is this one by Eve Arnold (Queen Elizabeth II, 1968) of her beaming up at the Great British weather. It leaves me feeling largely that she is just a person, much like the rest of us.

Only with more hats.

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