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A Signed Royal Presentation Portrait of King George VI, dated 1944

By Hugh Cecil. Black and white half length portrait photograph of George VI (1895-1952) in service dress uniform of a Field Marshal. Signed in the mount ‘George R.I.’, and dated ‘1944’ in the king’s hand. In a period gilt tooled navy blue leather frame in the manner of Plante, of Bury Street, St. James’s, London.

Hugh Cecil Saunders (1890-1974) practised under the professional name of Hugh Cecil. Educated at Tonbridge School and Queen’s College, Cambridge, he established a successful studio in Grafton Street in London in 1923; his work regularly appearing in the weekly Sketch, Tatler and Bystander. Cecil Beaton suggested he was influenced by the style of Baron De Meyer. In 1925, the Prince of Wales (later the Duke of Windsor) sat for the first of many royal sittings. Later Cecil produced the official photographs for the Edward VIII postage stamps.

Cecil’s studio continued to operate throughout the Second World War. It is thought that his pupils Paul Tanqueray and Angus McBean actually took many of his photographs.

© The Armoury of St James's 17 Piccadilly Arcade London SW1Y 6NH