Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II
by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 2 June 1953
19 1/2 in. x 15 1/2 in. (495 mm x 395 mm) sight
Given by Mr Ford Hill and the American Friends of the National Portrait Gallery (London) Foundation, Inc., 2015
Artistback to top
- Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1111 portraits, Sitter associated with 361 portraits.
This portraitback to top
For Coronation photographs of Queen Elizabeth alone, Beaton used the backdrop shown here, depicting the interior of the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey. The Queen's satin dress designed by Norman Hartnell (1901-1979) was embroidered with flowers symbolizing Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Hartnell also designed the dresses worn by the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Kent and the six Maids of Honour. Queen Elizabeth wears the Imperial State Crown, a replica of the crown made for Queen Victoria' s Coronation, and carries the Sceptre and Orb.
Portrait setback to top
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1953back to top
Current affairsA combination of low pressure in the North Sea, hurricane force winds, and high tides result in the Great Flood of 1953. With no warning system many were trapped in their homes as 20-foot waves crashed on the coast; hundreds were killed at sea and on the east coast.
John Hunt's British Expedition conquers Everest. News of the achievement reached Britain on the day of Elizabeth's coronation.
Art and scienceFrances Crick and James Watson discover the double helix structure of DNA. Uncovering DNA's chemical make-up revolutionised our understanding of the building blocks of life.
Ian Fleming publishes his first James Bond novel, Casino Royal.
Chad Varah founds 'The Samaritans' helpline.
InternationalJoseph Stalin dies four days after suffering a stroke. It has been suggested that Stalin was assassinated, as he was denied medical assistance for over a day after he was found; many suspect that he was poisoned. On his death Georgy Malenkov became leader of the Soviet Union.
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