Press & Communications

28 Sep 2012

Australian painter Ralph Heimans has chosen Westminster Abbey as the location for an official portrait of Her Majesty The Queen in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee. Her Majesty is portrayed standing in the middle of the Cosmati pavement, in the location where she made her Coronation Oath on 2nd June 1953.

Commenting on his prestigious commission, artist Ralph Heimans said: ‘Through the narrative of this portrait I wanted to explore the dynamic between the public role of The Queen and the personal, human dimension. Westminster Abbey is laden with extraordinary power – there isn’t a place more beautiful in this country.’ The artist spent two evenings at the Abbey earlier this year in preparation for the work. 

The Queen is pictured wearing a State Dress beneath the crimson velvet Robe of State, which she wore at the Coronation in June 1953, and which she has worn to the opening of state parliament each year for the last 60 years. Her diamond necklace and earrings were made for Queen Victoria and were worn by Her Majesty on the day of Her Coronation.

Measuring 2.5m high by 3.5m wide, the oil painting, entitled The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,  was unveiled on Friday 28th September at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra in Australia. It will be exhibited in London in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation on 2nd June.

The Dean of Westminster, Dr John Hall, was invited to a private view of the portrait in London last week. He said: ‘‘When I first saw it, I found breath-taking the power of the image and the wonderful sense of Her Majesty’s contemplative focus, as well as the depiction of the Abbey in all its grandeur and beauty.‘

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