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Queen receives some of Britain’s best contemporary art as Jubilee gift

The Royal Academy of Arts have gfted almost one hundred works of art from the Royal Academy of Arts. Picture: Getty

The Royal Academy of Arts have gfted almost one hundred works of art from the Royal Academy of Arts. Picture: Getty

  • by TRISTAN STEWART-ROBERTSON
 

FROM the sublime to the ridiculous, some of the best that contemporary British art has to offer has been presented to the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

Leading artists such as Tracey Emin, David Hockney, Anish Kapoor and Grayson Perry are among those who have donated 97 works from the Royal Academy of Arts to honour the monarch’s 60-year-reign.

Scots, including the painter John Bellany, Fife sculptor David Mach and Falkirk artist Barbara Rae, have also donated work.

The gifts have been added to the Royal Collection and will go on display at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace next autumn.

The portfolio includes prints, drawings, photographs and works in oil, watercolour and mixed media.

Martin Clayton, senior curator of prints and drawings, at the Royal Collection Trust, said: “The Royal Academy’s Diamond Jubilee gift is a vivid cross-section of the best of contemporary British art.

“It seems livelier and more varied than the Academy’s equivalent gifts for the Queen’s Coronation and Silver Jubilee.

“The Coronation gift was quite conservative, and even in 1977 there was still a feeling that individual artists were playing safe in their choice of works.

“Now, in 2012, there is no sense of dutiful deference. The artists and architects are simply presenting an example of their very best work to the Queen, and in some cases that work is very personal – such as Tracey Emin’s imaginative portrait of the Queen, David Hockney’s 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee, or Joe Tilson’s For Her Majesty a PC from Venice.”

Several of the works have been inspired by the Queen’s reign, including Emin’s HRH Royal Britannia, a monoprint portrait of The Queen, and sculptor John Maine’s Westminster Abbey, a drawing of the Abbey’s Cosmati Pavement, the spot where she was crowned.

The architect Michael Manser has contributed a drawing and photograph of The Queen’s Suite, at Heathrow Airport, which he designed in 1988.

There are also two Olympic-themed works – a gouache and charcoal work called Olympic Aquatics Centre from architect Zaha Hadid, who also designed Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, and Anne Desmet’s wood engraving Olympic Shadows.

The first major retrospective of John Bellany’s work opened last month at the Scottish National Gallery to mark his 70th birthday.

The exhibition, A Passion for Life, brings together around 75 paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints from the 50-year career of the Port Seton, East Lothian, born artist.

His contribution to the Jubilee is an untitled work in crayon.

A spokeswoman for the National Galleries of Scotland said: “It is an impressive gift by an array of well-known artists.

“As part of the Royal Collection, the public will also be able to see and enjoy these works so this is a very appropriate artistic form with which to mark the Jubilee.”

Barbara Rae, like Bellany, studied at the Edinburgh College of Art in the 1960s and was awarded a travel scholarship that took her to France and Spain.

She taught in Edinburgh until 1972 and then lectured at Aberdeen College of Education before two decades at the Glasgow School of Art.

David Mach, from Methil, studied at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee in the 1970s and then London’s Royal College of Art.

He has been visiting professor at Edinburgh College of Art since 1999.

 

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