Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II
by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 1955
14 3/4 in. x 11 1/2 in. (374 mm x 293 mm) overall
acquired Cecil Beaton, 1968
Artistback to top
- Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1112 portraits, Sitter associated with 361 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Moorhouse, Paul and Cannadine, David (appreciation), The Queen: Art and Image, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 17 May to 21 October 2012), p. 64 Read entry
Here the Queen is portrayed as Sovereign of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. As in his Coronation photograph, Beaton employs a photographic backdrop, in this case based on a watercolour of Windsor Castle, where the annual St George's Day procession and service of the Order are held. The effect of this device is to emphasise not only the formality of the image, but also its artifice.
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1955back to top
Current affairsRobert Anthony Eden becomes prime minister. In May 1955 Winston Churchill resigned due to ill health. His successor proved to be a similarly popular leader, winning an increased majority at the general election that year. Eden's popularity was due to a combination of his long wartime service, good looks and charm.
Art and scienceMary Quant introduces the 'Chelsea Look' with her Bazaar boutique. In the 1960s Quant was a major contributor to 'swinging London' introducing some of the seminal items of 1960s fashion: the miniskirt, hot pants, paint-box make-up and plastic raincoats.
InternationalWest Germany joins NATO, prompting the East European Communist counties to respond by forming the Warsaw Pact. The signatories of the Warsaw Pact pledged to defend each other if any member was attacked. This development was a major event in the Cold War as it firmly established the East and West as opposing military powers.
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