Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Portrait
September 12, 2018
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Portrait
Undertakes a Cross-Country Tour
OTTAWA—The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (OSGG) is pleased to announce that the Diamond Jubilee Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which has been on display in the Ballroom at Rideau Hall since 2012, is undertaking a cross-country tour.
This initiative will allow for more Canadians to see the painting in person and is meant to honour and pay tribute to Her Majesty’s ongoing and unwavering service. On September 11, 2018, the portrait left Rideau Hall and is making its way to Government House, in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The painting will be on public display as of September 20, 2018, which will coincide with Governor General Julie Payette’s official visit to this community.
Throughout its Canadian tour, the portrait will be on display in the following provinces (in chronological order):
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- New Brunswick
- British Colombia
The details of each public viewing will be announced at a later date.
This initiative coincides with renovation work that must be undertaken in the Ballroom of Rideau Hall by the National Capital Commission (NCC). The OSGG has partnered with the NCC, as well as viceregal and provincial partners, to bring this cross-country tour to fruition. Her Majesty supports the project.
About Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Portrait
The portrait, which is part of the NCC’s Crown Collection, was painted on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee by Phil Richards. It was officially unveiled in London, U.K., in 2012, in the presence of The Queen, the Right Honourable David Johnston, then-Governor General of Canada, and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, then-Prime Minister of Canada.
The painting was installed at Rideau Hall on June 28, 2012. That same year, it was the subject of a documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada to show the various steps involved in creating the portrait and interviews with the artist. For more information about the portrait, please see the attached background sheet.
To view a time-lapse video of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Portrait leaving Rideau Hall, visit youtu.be/Bcd7Fk4yHNE
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE DIAMOND JUBILEE PORTRAIT OF
HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Commissioned in 2010 by Heritage Canada, this portrait was painted on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. It was officially unveiled in London, U.K., on June 6, 2012, in the presence of The Queen, the Right Honourable David Johnston, then-Governor General of Canada, and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, then-Prime Minister of Canada. The painting was installed at Rideau Hall on June 28, 2012. It is a contemporary representation of The Queen and a symbol of her presence in the governor general’s official residence and workplace.
Following its installation, the portrait was transferred into the Crown Collection for Canada’s Official Residences. This collection is managed by the National Capital Commission (Ottawa).
That same year, the portrait was the subject of a documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada. The film, entitled The Portrait, was produced by filmmaker Hubert Davis. It shows the various steps involved in creating the portrait and interviews with the artist.
Canadian artist Philip James Richards was born in Toronto in 1951. He studied at the Ontario College of Art & Design University and graduated in 1973. He lives and works in Scarborough, Ontario. He explores a variety of genres in his works, including murals, landscapes, still life and portraits. He is noted for painting a number of portraits of politicians and scholars.
This portrait includes a number of details that refer to Her Majesty’s reign and highlight her ties with Canada. The artist has attempted to reflect several aspects of The Queen’s character in the expression on her face: intelligence, dedication, commitment and compassion. Over the years, the world has become intimately familiar with the changing image of The Queen, who grew from a young princess to a wife, mother, queen, grandmother and great-grandmother. The artist’s goal was to capture the entire history of The Queen’s life on her face.
The Queen is the source of all honours in Canada. In the portrait, she is wearing the insignia of the Sovereign of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit.
The Queen is resting her left hand on the Carleton House desk, currently located in the Monck Sitting Room at Rideau Hall. This piece was created for the Prince of Wales—who later became King George IV—when he lived at Carleton House, around 1796. On the desk is a copy of the British North America Act, 1867 (BNA Act), which was signed during Queen Victoria’s reign and repatriated to Canada during the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Behind The Queen, through the archway, is a portrait of Queen Victoria in her coronation robes. The original of this portrait was painted in 1838 by Sir George Hayter; a copy painted by J. H. Walker hangs in the Tent Room at Rideau Hall. By juxtaposing the portraits of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II in the same painting, the artist has highlighted the ties that unite the two women: Queen Victoria is Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother and the only other British monarch to have celebrated a diamond jubilee. By representing Queen Victoria at the beginning of her reign and Queen Elizabeth II 60 years after her coronation, Richards has also highlighted the passage of time.
The space surrounding the subject is filled with fictional objects combined with a number of architectural and decorative elements found throughout Rideau Hall (the panelled archway, the mouldings, the pilasters and the wall sconces). The arrangement and interior colours of the residence have been modified to meet the portrait’s esthetics. The red-and-white Canadian flag provides the tone for the paint colours. The combination of red and white is repeated several times in the portrait: in the flowers, the medals, the carpet, the BNA Act and the portrait of Queen Victoria. Finally, the gold colour ties the architecture, carpet and furniture together, and creates a warm atmosphere within the painting.
The frame was built in Toronto by Elizabeth and Peter Porebski, based on suggestions by Phil Richards and one of his sons. The frame is topped with a large, gold medallion, Her Majesty’s Canadian Diamond Jubilee Emblem. The design for this emblem was created by the Canadian Heraldic Authority.