Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Queen Elizabeth II

with 5 comments

Queen Elizabeth’s portrait graced the currencies of 33 different countries, more than that of any other individual. Canada was the first, in 1935, when it printed the 9-year-old Princess Elizabeth on its $20 notes. Mother England was slower to adapt. Only in 1960, the Bank England issued a new note which was the first to have the Queen’s image. Five different portraits of the Queen have been used on banknotes since: (above, l. to r.) Robert Austin (1960), Reynolds Stone (1963), Harry Ecclestone (1970 and 1971) and Roger Withington (1990). Over the years, 26 different portraits — most commissioned with the sole purpose of putting them on banknotes — have been used in the U.K. and its current and former colonies, dominions and territories, not without some controversy. While many countries update their currencies to reflect the Queen’s advancing age, others kept her young.

Shortly after Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne, she sat for a single portrait session with Dorothy Wilding, the first woman to be awarded a Royal Warrant to be an official royal photographer. Appearing on magazine covers, banknotes, stamps and coins in slightly different forms, photos taken during that session became some of the most frequently reproduced images in the world. (In the above photo, the Queen was wearing the George IV State Diadem and the necklace presented for her wedding by Nizam of Hyderabad).

On the stamps, Wilding image was used until a second series was made in 1967. John Hedgecoe took a series of profile shots of the Queen in 1966 after being commissioned by the Postmaster General. Once the Queen had selected her favourite, the sculptor Arnold Machin made it up into a plaster relief, which Hedgecoe then photographed. It is this shot which has since been reproduced on some 200 billion (and counting) stamps, making Hedgecoe and Machin most copied artists in history. The image was also put on a banknote; when Bermuda decided to redesign its currency in 2009, it somehow decided to use this portrait which was already 40 years old!.

Professor Hedgecoe died 3rd June 2010.

Her Majesty marked her 84th official birthday yesterday.

Happy Birthday, Ma’am!

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

June 14, 2010 at 2:30 am

5 Responses

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  1. How breathtaking she was in her youth; And still today. Good on her, as I think they say it accross the pond. Long live the Queen. (if for no better reason than to keep that whack-o Charles on the sidelines) C’mon William grow up enough already and save g’mama and the crown. (my money is on give-em-Hell Harry)

    Eric

    June 14, 2010 at 4:23 am

  2. How breathtaking she was in her youth; And still today. Good on her, as I think they say it accross the pond. Long live the Queen. (if for no better reason than to keep that whack-o Charles on the sidelines) C’mon William grow up enough already and save g’mama and the crown. (my money is on give-em-Hell Harry)

    Eric

    June 14, 2010 at 4:23 am

  3. Her Majesty always looks so regal and majestic. She was truely destined to become Queen. Her poise and grace is still there today and is indeed a rare quality in these modern times. May Her Majesty continue to reign over Britain and her other Realms of the British Commonwealth. God Save Our Queen! Long May She Reign.

    Peter Gottschald

    December 4, 2010 at 3:13 pm

  4. […] the official photographer of the British expedition which made the first ascent of Everest; John Hedgecoe, the royal photographer whose photo of the Queen graced over 200 billion postage stamps. The year […]

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