Published 05 May 2023
Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort have commissioned five artists to capture some of the most significant moments of the Coronation Weekend. The artists will produce sketches and paintings of the Coronation Procession and Service, as well as the Coronation concert.
Inviting artists to sketch, paint and draw scenes from the Coronation, reflects Their Majesties’ shared appreciation of, and affection for, the arts and creative industries and continues a long tradition of such commissions by other Monarchs. His Majesty, as The Prince of Wales, established The Royal Drawing School (formerly known as The Prince’s Drawing School) in 2000.
His Majesty is also a watercolourist himself and often commissions artists to accompany him on overseas tours.
Sketches along the processional route
His Majesty has selected three alumni of The Royal Drawing School to draw events they witness from positions along the Processional Route. The artists will observe and capture: crowds lining the route, Their Majesties’ departure from Buckingham Palace, Their Majesties’ arrival at Westminster Abbey and the return journey following the Service, in their medium of choice.
The artists are Fraser Scarfe, Phoebe Stannard and Gideon Summerfield.
Scarfe is currently Head of the Drawing Year and studied on the Drawing Year 2012-13. (The Drawing Year is a full scholarship postgraduate-level course offering up to thirty students the opportunity to focus on drawing from observation for one year. There are no tuition fees for The Drawing Year – all students are awarded a full scholarship and receive a free studio space.)
Similarly, Stannard also teaches at the Royal Drawing School and completed The Drawing Year at the Royal Drawing School in 2010. On covering the Coronation, Stannard said: “I believe The King understands the power, intimacy and precision of drawing to capture time. His Majesty’s support of the arts has helped train a generation of artists, like me, and it is a privilege and challenge to be invited to use my skills to record the spectacle of the day."
Summerfield attended the Young Artists’ Programme returning as a postgraduate to complete The Drawing Year at The Royal Drawing School. Summerfield described how: “His Majesty The King has had a direct impact on the progression of my artistic career from the age of 13 (15 years ago!)”
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and the tuition and support from the teachers and the school was invaluable. After university, I returned to the School to complete a fantastic postgraduate course.”
Paintings in the Abbey
Eileen Hogan has been commissioned to paint the Coronation Service itself from within Westminster Abbey. She is the first woman to have been appointed in this role. Hogan is Emeritus Professor at the University of the Arts London, a Trustee of the Royal Drawing School and an Ambassador for the Salvesen Mindroom Centre.
Hogan supported ‘The Last of the Tide: Portraits of D-Day Veterans (2015) and contributed to ‘Prince and Patron’ (2018).
It is expected that Hogan will produce a series of ten small paintings from inside Westminster Abbey, some of which may later be worked up into larger paintings.
Hogan has acted as a mentor for the alumni students of The Royal Drawing School during the process. Discussing her approach to capturing the Coronation, Eileen said: “Why paint the Coronation when the ceremony will be filmed and photographed from all angles? Painting lends itself to nuance and layering, the result of a human being making expressive marks. I want to capture how in 2023 the ceremony reflects social and political meanings concerning the monarchy, faiths, the state, and the congregation, all contained in the architecture of Westminster Abbey, itself embodying centuries of change. My challenge is to negotiate a painterly relationship with this highly historical, concentrated event and the key players within it in my own language whilst being true to the occasion.”
The formal painting of the State Portraits will take place after the Coronation. Their Majesties have each personally chosen an artist to paint their Portrait.
Peter Kuhfeld NEAC.RP.CAS. will paint His Majesty’s Coronation State Portrait.
Kuhfeld’s previous work with the Royal Household includes ‘The Last of the Tide: Portraits of D-Day Veterans’ (2015) and ‘Seven Portraits: Surviving the Holocaust’ (2022).
Kuhfeld said: “I first met HRH The Prince of Wales, as he was then over 40 years ago through a mutual friend Sir Brinsley Ford. Since that time His Majesty has given me unwavering support in my work; taking me on five of his overseas trips, opening doors and giving me opportunities that I would not have had. Through his great love of painting and drawing he has commissioned me to paint so many outstanding celebrations, including Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee on the Thames.”
Now, as he becomes our King and takes over from The late Queen, his beloved mother, it is my honour that he has asked me to paint his Coronation Portrait.”
Paul Benney will paint Her Majesty’s Coronation State Portrait. Benney has twice won the Public Choice award in the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Awards. Previous work with the Royal Household includes ‘The Last of the Tide: Portraits of D-Day Veterans’ (2015), ‘Seven Portraits: Surviving the Holocaust’ (2022) and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (2015).
Benney said: “A portrait is both a projection and a mirror. The recent history of portraiture has taught us that the traditional commission as a tribute solely to the social position of the sitter has gradually morphed into a contemporary regard for the symbolism of the human condition. In my own practice, while acknowledging the reality of power and position, I firmly focus on the physiognomy and personality of the sitter, insisting on the relationship I have with the subject to add psychological weight to what can be a rather restrictive genre. Ultimately, regardless of the sitter - Royalty, politician or simply a friend of the artist – the great portrait will reach across the years and sociological divides to speak to us as a fellow human being. As anybody who has been affected by a great Rembrandt will know, this can be a profoundly moving experience.”
Artist and illustrator Shana Pagano Lohrey, also alumni of the Royal Drawing School, has been selected to draw at the Coronation Concert, capturing the atmosphere, crowds and ambience of the event.
Lohrey said: “The Royal Drawing School has cultivated a very special place and community of people, where I learned that there is a limitless range of perspectives and approaches to drawing; each artist practices with their individual and idiosyncratic challenges. I am constantly in awe at the opportunities, people and adventures that drawing and the School have and continue to connect me with."
Shana has been tasked to produce a variety of artworks and anticipates she will use the mediums of charcoal and pastels. As with all other works commissioned above, Shana’s work will become part of the Royal Collection.
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