Queen Elizabeth II

1 portrait on display in Room 32 at the National Portrait Gallery

Queen Elizabeth II, by Pietro Annigoni, 1969 - NPG 4706 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Queen Elizabeth II

by Pietro Annigoni
tempera grassa on paper on panel, 1969
78 in. x 70 in. (1981 mm x 1778 mm)
Given by Sir Hugh Leggatt, 1970
Primary Collection
NPG 4706

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  • Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988), Painter. Artist of 3 portraits, Sitter in 32 portraits.

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The trustees of the National Portrait Gallery commissioned the Italian artist Pietro Annigoni to paint a new portrait of the Queen in 1969. The Queen herself had expressed a preference for the artist who had painted her once before in 1954; two years after her coronation. Annigoni's second portrait, paid for by the art dealer Sir Hugh Leggatt, took 10 months and 18 sittings to complete. During this period the artist produced the sketch displayed here. This stark and monumental composition proved to be a startling contrast to Annigoni's earlier portrait of the young queen, which was glamorous and romantic. He explained his changed approach: 'I did not want to paint her as a film star; I saw her as a monarch, alone in the problems of her responsibility'. The unveiling of the portrait in 1970 generated enormous press and public interest.

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