Friday, June 8, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Exhibitions: The Queen—Art & Image


Queen Elizabeth II
Portrait by Dorothy Wilding, circa 1952
Featuring the necklace from the Nizar of Hyderabad
Photo Source: Visit London

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

In the wake of the grand celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, several different museums will be showcasing special exhibitions that will be of particular interest to jewelry enthusiasts. The first of these exhibits opened on May 17, 2012, at the National Portrait Gallery at St. Martin’s Place in London. The Queen: Art & Image is a treasury of portraits (photographs and paintings) of Queen Elizabeth II throughout her reign as queen.

Featuring the works of prolific portraitist, Bassano; photographer, designer, and writer, Cecil Beaton; painter, Pietro Annigoni; photographer and 5th Earl of Lichfield, Thomas Patrick John Anson; as well as many others, this gorgeous exhibit features Queen Elizabeth II in all her glory across the span of her 60-year reign.

By far one of the better historical records of the jewelry Her Royal Majesty chose for each marked occasion, the 712 portraits, which will be on display until October 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery, reveal not only the varied and beautiful jewels of the British Empire, but also which were the queen’s favorites.

It is clear that in her early days as queen, she favored her three-strand pearls for informal occasions. For more formal occasions, she favored the crown she affectionately calls “Granny’s Tiara,” and the Cartier diamond and platinum necklace, which was a wedding gift from Osman Ali Khan, the Nizar of Hyderabad, in 1947. In the new millenium, she began to favor the Diamond Diadem (formerly known as the George IV Diadem) and what appear to be the Duchess of Teck pearl and diamond earrings. Though there is a bit of sleuthing involved with piecing her jewelry history together, it is made easier through these portraits.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Directgov. "The Queen's Diamond Jubilee--celebrations and events." Accessed June 8, 2012. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/Features/DG_WP200687.
2. National Portrait Gallery. "The Queen: Art & Image." Accessed June 8, 2012. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/the-queen/the-queen-art-image.php.
3. Tert.am. "Queen Elizabeth's collection of jewels revealed for first time." Last modified May 5, 2012. Accessed June 8, 2012. http://www.tert.am/en/news/2012/05/05/elizabeth/.
4. Aguilar, Christine. "Peep the Beauty Queen of Jewelry Collection." Etc. Fashion Blog. Posted June 5, 2012. Accessed June 8, 2012. http://etcfashionblog.com/peep-the-beauty-queen-of-jewelry-collection.html.

*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

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