A major exhibition depicting 60 years of the world’s most pictured person, the Queen, is to open in Scotland this summer, reports Phil Miller the arts correspondent of the Scottish newspaper The Herald, “Art show to mark Queen’s Diamond Jubilee” (13/1).
He reports that to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, four major UK galleries will host an exhibition of the most “remarkable and resonant” images of Elizabeth II, spanning her entire reign – including some being shown in public for the first time.
The show, The Queen: Art and Image, is sponsored by Turcan Connell. It will open at the National Galleries in Edinburgh on 25 June and close on 18 September. The it will go to Belfast, Cardiff ending with a season at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2012.
The Scottish show will feature an extra painting – not being shown elsewhere – by William Oliphant Hutchison, The Queen in Thistle Robes, from 1956.
The exhibition has some of the most famous images of Elizabeth – including Pietro Annigoni’s 1969 portrait and the portrait by Lucian Freud from 2000 – alongside more unusual works from controversial contemporary artists Gilbert and George, Andy Warhol and photographers such as Lord Snowdon, Patrick Lichfield, Cecil Beaton and Annie Leibovitz.
The most unorthodox images are Justin Mortimer’s painting, where the Queen’s head floats away from her body, and Chris Levine’s photo from 2004 where she has her eyes closed.
The exhibition also has a 2008 collage – Medusa by Hew Locke – which appears to show the Queen’s head covered in streams of beads.
A larger-than-life hologram of the Queen and a clip taken from a documentary on the Royal Family, which has not been seen in more than 40 years, are also in the show.
James Holloway, director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, told Mr. Miller :
“I am delighted Scotland will be able to enjoy this remarkable jubilee exhibition, which will be presented in the heart of the capital city of Her Majesty’s Stuart ancestors.“
It will run alongside our major show by Elizabeth Blackadder, who is the Queen’s official painter and limner.
“The Queen is the most pictured person in history and the exhibition shows the enormous breadth of her reign from when she was crowned to the present day, and the changes in the country in that period.”
Mr. Millar says a 1952 photograph of the Queen stepping out of a plane from Kenya“to an entirely different role after learning about the death of her father, King George VI, will be the earliest image to go on display.
The show will have excerpts from the ground-breaking TV documentary, Royal Family, which was made in 1969 and was watched by two-thirds of the British population.
Paul Moorhouse, curator of the exhibition, told Mr. Miller said the show would be “far from a formal or official view of the Queen”.
“The documentary redefined the nation’s view of the Queen … I wish we could show it in its entirety.
“We were invited to make a selection between two excerpts and chose one of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the family having a conversation around a table. It tells you a lot about family life.”
Mr Moorhead added: “The Queen appears to have liked a lot of images [of her] that have apparently been controversial.”