As part of Britain’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations the National Portrait Gallery in London has gathered some of the most iconic royal images from the second Elizabethan era.
They include classic studies by Annigoni and Cecil Beaton, with 55 paintings and photographs, attempting to show how representations of the Queen have changed during her 60-year reign.
“During the course of the exhibition, which covers 60 years, you see the way the Queen has been represented really changing in radical ways. At the beginning of the exhibition, you see very, very formal images, very deferential images, but as you move through the exhibition, you see the story changing the Queen being represented in a more informal way,” says the show’s curator Paul Moorhouse.
Jamie Reid’s 1977 “God save the Queen”, created for Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, may end up as the reign’s most iconic of all, but over the years Andy Warhol and Lucian Freud also created destinctive variations on the theme.
“We wanted to say something about how the Queen has been represented and how this mysterious figure – the Queen – has taken shape in our imagination and what role images have had in that process,” says Moorhouse.
The show includes a hologram, “Lightness of Being” by Chris Levine, and Korea’s Kim Dongyoo has his “Elizabeth versus Diana” to remind us of The Firm’s dark days in the 1990s.
The most recent picture shows the Royal Couple side by side at Windsor in a painting by Thomas Struth.
The exhibition runs until October 21.