Since The Queen ascended the throne in 1952, there have been more than 130 official portraits of her by many different artists. However, one royal portrait painted to mark the Queen’s 80th birthday has ‘disappeared’.
The painting captured by Australian born Rolf Harris had been on display in many places from the BBC to Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery but now the painting hasn’t been seen on display for a while. The painting was commissioned by the BBC and took two months to paint. In that time the Queen sat at Buckingham Palace twice and Harris unveiled it for her at the palace.
The portrait was the first of its kind to show a monarch in such an informal pose. She was wearing a green dress along with a pearl necklace and brooch made to mark her late mother’s 100th birthday. She was sat in a relaxed manner and was smiling.
Harris told reporters at the unveiling that the Queen said the portrait was ‘very friendly’ but some critics disagree. The BBC recorded Harris’ efforts for a special edition of his programme ‘Rolf on Arts’.
The Portrait was on loan to Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery for many years until it was returned to Buckingham Palace last August. A spokesman for the gallery said “We had the painting on loan from the Palace and exhibited it here from May until August 2012. We then returned the piece to Buckingham Palace and do not have any knowledge about what has happened to it since”
In November Harris was questioned by police in relation to the Operation Yewtree inquiry. He has since been charged with 9 accounts of indecent assault and 4 accounts of making indecent images of children.