Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Queen Elizabeth II Sits For An Official Portrait For Queen Elizabeth

Confused by that headline? It’s really quite simple. If you look hard enough, you will usually find an official portrait of every ship’s Godmother displayed on board. Sometimes they are in the main lobby, sometimes they are elsewhere, but you can bet this portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be in a position of honor aboard Cunard Line’s newest liner, Queen Elizabeth.

In line with the Cunard tradition of commissioning appropriate sculpture or portraits for display on board each ship named by a member of the Royal Family, the company commissioned an official portrait of The Queen for the new Queen Elizabeth, due to be named by Her Majesty next month. The new official portrait was unveiled by the artist yesterday at a private event at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The portrait, which shows The Queen in the Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, was painted by 31-year-old, Lancashire-born Isobel Peachey. Although an accomplished award-winning portrait artist, she had never before been commissioned to paint a royal portrait. The Queen granted three sittings for the portrait, a three-quarter length painting which shows her dressed in blue and wearing Queen Victoria’s collet necklace and earrings, which she also wore for her Coronation in 1953.

“At my interview with Cunard, I answered many questions about how I would approach an important commission,” said Peachey. “But it was only at the end of the interview that the subject was revealed as The Queen. This was both a shock and a marvellous surprise.”

Commenting on how the artist was chosen, Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks, said, “Apart from being impressed by the quality of Isobel’s work, which we originally saw on display in the National Portrait Gallery, we were keen to offer the commission to a young artist who had never before had such an opportunity. Isobel is, in fact, the youngest female artist ever to paint the monarch, and the quality of the finished work is such that our confidence has been greatly rewarded.” He added, “It is a truly wonderful picture of Her Majesty. It is even more remarkable when you consider that, lacking a private studio, Isobel executed this magnificent painting in her mum’s attic!”

The Queen will see the finished portrait for the first time on Oct 11th when she visits Southampton to name the new liner Queen Elizabeth. The portrait will hang in a prominent position in the ship’s Grand Lobby. Cruise Diva will be on board to see it as well, and we invite you to mark your calendar to come along for the grand event.

For more information, visit Cunard.com.

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