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A Royal Presentation Portrait of Queen Elizabeth, Consort of George VI, 1951

Black and white three-quarter length portrait photograph by Dorothy Wilding. The Queen Mother is shown wearing the Oriental Circlet and the Crown Rubies, supplied by the Crown Jeweller Garrard to Prince Albert as a gift for Queen Victoria in 1853-54. Originally set with opals these were later substituted with large Burmese rubies by Queen Alexandra. Signed and dated in the Queen’s hand ‘Elizabeth R /1951’ in the lower mount. Contained in a blue morocco easel backed presentation frame embossed with the Queen’s ER cypher under the king’s crown. Glazed.

Dorothy Wilding began her photographic career as an apprentice to Bond Street photographer Marian Neilson. She established her own Bond Street studio in 1929, where she became a favourite of members of the Royal Family, society figures and film and theatrical stars. In 1937 Wilding became the first woman to be appointed as an Official Royal Photographer, and was responsible for the double portrait of George VI and Queen Elizabeth that was subsequently adapted for the 1937 Coronation issue postage stamp. She opened a second studio in New York in the same year, and was awarded a Royal Warrant in 1943. She is best known for her brightly lit linear compositions photographed in high key lighting against a white background. Her autobiography 'In Pursuit of Perfection' was published in 1958. Her surviving archives were presented to the National Portrait Gallery in 1976 and formed the basis of a major NPG retrospective exhibition and catalogue in 1991, The Pursuit of Perfection. (1893-1976).


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