‘Awesome’ six-word request an Australian painter had to ask the Queen before capturing Her Majesty in an iconic portrait
- Artists Ralph Heymens were asked to paint the official portrait of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012
- He said he wanted to show it in a rare moment of introspection, a side that isn’t shown to the public in general
- The plaque is set on Cosmati Pier in Westminster Abbey, the historic site of the coronation
- When he started painting the picture sitting in Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace staff told him to use a very special phrase
- Full coverage: Click here to see full coverage of the Queen’s death
The Australian-born artist who painted the acclaimed Diamond Jubilee portrait said he was instructed to ask Her Majesty: “Can I control now, madam?”
Ralph Heymans, from Sydney who now lives in south London with his wife and daughters, explained that he was allowed to sit for an hour with the Queen at Buckingham Palace after being asked to paint her portrait in 2012.
Mr. Heimans explained that palace staff had asked him to use the phrase “awesome” the moment she began to sit down.
I couldn’t believe that was what I had to say, and right now, I couldn’t force myself to say those words. It’s like saying “Can I take over the country?” , he told the project in a clip broadcast on Tuesday.
The Queen’s official Diamond Jubilee portrait titled Coronation Theater (pictured) is set on Cosmati Quay in Westminster Abbey, the historic site of the Coronation
Artist Ralph Heymans (pictured) said he thinks the painting “has more resonance now than it does right now.”
He added that he had been told that the Queen would stand for some but not all sessions, which would be held in the palace’s yellow drawing room, and that there was an ‘important discussion’ about what the Queen would wear with the palace staff but it was taking place. the offer’.
He said the Queen chose the state robe to wear which weighed so much that four people were needed to help carry it.
“I wanted to paint the Queen in an introspective mood but it’s a little hard to make it clear that you want her to look a little gloomy.”
“I found that there was some resistance from the palace staff that day and the Queen’s wardrobe was very adamant that she should look up and look very cheerful.”
The painting titled “The Coronation Theatre” is the largest official portrait of Her Majesty
It’s twice as big as anything I’ve dealt with before, but the scale is just right for the effect of the action…I wanted the viewer to feel like they were standing in the presence of the Queen, to get that feeling right in front of her.
“She has this extraordinary aura.”
It’s a bit hard to see beyond the mask, but what I liked was this sense of humility she had, and it really helped define the painting.
Looking at a six-month time frame from the session to the unveiling, he said he worked 20 hours a day.
“If you take an X-ray of my board, you’ll see that there are a lot of different ideas I’ve tried and painted on…it was a real wrestling with the board.”
Mr Heymans said the Queen does not comment on the pictures, but has since commissioned a painting of Prince Philip and Prince Charles, now King Charles III, which he saw as positive feedback.
The site of the painting is the historic coronation site in Westminster Abbey, where the picture is now located, and where Mr. Heimans spent two nights alone in the famous chapel.
“It is set where it culminates on this central circle on the Cosmati Pier, an incredible mosaic on the high slope where the throne is set,” he said.
The crown aligns with this central circle on the earth to give the king divine power. It is the epicenter of British ownership.
He added that it was an “imagined moment” between sitting and the monastery because “you don’t see the Queen alone in public.”
Three weeks after the painting was unveiled, it was vandalized by someone who slipped a spray canister inside the monastery in his overcoat and wrote the word “help” before they were laid to the ground “in a dramatic fashion.”
“p ran over the edge of the canvas.”
The restorers worked for five weeks wiping the paint with cotton buds to remove the marks with Mr. Heimans and then smeared the painting to return the image to its original condition.
Heymans said that while the Queen has not commented on the selfies, he was commissioned to paint Prince Philip in 2017 and Prince Charles, now King Charles III, in 2018, so he took that as a positive feedback.
“I found Charles a wonderful person, very thoughtful, and I believe he would make a great King indeed.”