Portraits of the Queen | A Subject Like No Other

Portraits of the Queen | A Subject Like No Other

Portraits of the Queen | A Subject Like No Other

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With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we reflect on the impact her likeness has had on the art of portraiture. It’s hard to think of any individual subject whose representation has been captured with such frequency or diversity. From official Royal portraits to currency, from trinkets to tapestries, photos to food, her image is unmistakable worldwide. Portraits of the Queen spark a range of reactions and emotions, moving beyond simple representation to comment broadly on the Royal family and England’s global influence. Prominent artists, like Andy Warhol and Lucian Freud, contribute to a seemingly endless list of those who have been compelled by this iconic figure. These images showcase just a sampling of approaches taken by artists in representing Queen Elizabeth II over her lengthy reign.

Lucian Freud

A gallery visitor walks by a newly unveiled portrait of the queen by British artist Lucien Freud at the inaugural opening of the Royal Collection at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace May 17, 2002 in London. The exhibition of 450 items is from over five centuries of royal collections encompassing nine royal residences. Cataloguing of the vast collection is not yet complete, but the value of the items so far is up to $ 20 billion. (Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

Andy Warhol

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 16: A woman walks past an artwork of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Andy Warhol as it’s being filmed in the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition “The Queen: Art & Image” on May 16, 2012 in London, England. The exhibition, which opens to the public on May 17, 2012 and runs until October 21, 2012, features a wide-ranging display of images of The Queen from throughout her 60 year reign. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Feliks Topolski

Polish painter Feliks Topolski RA working on a large mural depicting scenes from the Queen’s Coronation, which has been commissioned by Prince Philip, at his studio near Hungerford Bridge, London, March 24th 1959. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Pietro Annigoni

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 16: A man views images of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II including one by artist Pietro Annigoni entitled ‘Queen Elizabeth II’ (R) in the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition “The Queen: Art & Image” on May 16, 2012 in London, England. The exhibition, which opens to the public on May 17, 2012 and runs until October 21, 2012, features a wide-ranging display of images of The Queen from throughout her 60 year reign. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Rolf Harris

LONDON – DECEMBER 19: Rolf Harris’s oil portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is officially unveiled at The Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace on December 19, 2005 in London, England. Harris was permitted two sittings at Buckingham Palace, which were recorded for a BBC One documentary. More than 120 official portraits have been made of the Queen, by artists ranging from Dame Laura Knight to Lucien Freud. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Joseph Wallace King

American artist Joseph Wallace King (1911-1996) alongside his portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at the Mall Galleries in London, England, 24th January 1972. The portrait was commissioned by the Wellcome Foundation for presentation to the state of North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Lawn/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Justin Mortimer

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 16: A woman photographs a painting of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by artist Justin Mortimer entitled ‘The Queen’ in the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition “The Queen: Art & Image” on May 16, 2012 in London, England. The exhibition, which opens to the public on May 17, 2012 and runs until October 21, 2012, features a wide-ranging display of images of The Queen from throughout her 60 year reign. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Rob Munday

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 04: Rob Munday unveils a never seen before portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at 45 Park Lane on May 04, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Ralph Heimans

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 29: A funeral effigy of Queen Anne (1740) appears to look towards “The Coronation Theatre: Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” (2012) by Ralph Heimans in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee gallery at Westminster Abbey on May 29, 2018 in London, England. The gallery will be open to the public from 11 June 2018 and features over 300 treasures from the Abbey’s collection. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Emmanuel Y.Obuobi

Britain’s Prince Charles, left, looks at an artpiece, depicting his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, made of yarn, by designer Emmanuel Y. Obuobi, center, during his visit at the Ideal Home Show, in London, Friday, March 16, 2012. The Prince, who visited the show last year, formally opened the 17 day show, which is now in its 104th year and attracts over 270,000 visitors. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, pool)

Oluwole Omofemi

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 27: The Queen (2022) by Oluwole Omofemi goes on view at Sotheby’s on May 27, 2022 in London, England. Sotheby’s blockbuster exhibitions celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee open in London May 28, free and open to the public until July 15. Centering around the theme of “Power & Image” the exhibitions bring together important loans of aristocratic tiaras and royal portraiture of each of Britain’s seven regnant queens. Highlights include The Spencer Tiara, worn by Princess Diana on her wedding day, and The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby’s)

William Dargie

WINDSOR, ENGLAND – JULY 06: Continuing the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in this historic year, the portrait “Her Majesty The Queen” painted by William Dargie in 1956, is displayed as part of a special display at Windsor Castle exploring the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, at Windsor Castle on July 6, 2022 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Nicky J Sims/Getty Images)

Rich Simmons

Artist Rich Simmons at The Opera Gallery on March 16, 2011 in London, England.
Artists at the Ministry of Works working on a replica painting of a portrait of Elizabeth II, 26th August 1958. (Photo by McKeown/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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