1998 ‘Her Majesty The Queen’ for Shell International Robbie Wraith

Study for Her Majesty the Queen for the Portrait commissioned for Shell by Robbie Wraith RP

Study for Her Majesty the Queen for the Portrait commissioned for Shell by Robbie Wraith RP

Diary Extracts (copyright Robbie Wraith)

February 1998

First visit to Buckingham Palace.

At the gate I am directed across the front courtyard to the Privy Purse door – the marching band appears, playing yellow submarine and I only just make it across.

There is a doorbell…

A small waiting room, then Sir Robin Janvrin takes me to the Yellow Drawing Room. Everyone very helpful – would I like this here or that there, this chair or that, the easel here or there…

Robbie Wraith at work on his portrait of the Queen for Shell International

Robbie Wraith at work on his portrait of the Queen for Shell International

‘Maybe a little further over?’ and all five of us move the chair, and then two of us move the footstool…

A meeting with Angela Kelly, the Queen’s Dresser, to talk about the clothes and jewellery.

Everyone relaxed and helpful.

27th February

First sitting.

The Palace gate, 10am… hurrying, and nervous, but I stop and linger a moment among the tourists to savour the moment.

A grey day, but not too dark.

The footman on duty doesn’t know where the Yellow Drawing Room is…

‘It’s ok, I know, I’ll show you,’ I say ‘it’s along the front corridor, past the Sargents…’

Everything is in place. A bottle of water and two glasses with ER II on them have appeared. I start to prepare my paints and medium, check the position of the easel and chair.

Towards 11 every detail is ready. I watch the crowds outside, the relentless traffic and tide of life.

Waiting between the blank canvas and the ticking clock, the distant hum of a million English moments.

The door opens and the Queen walks in, red dress, black cloak, diamonds…

‘Here I am!’ 

Robbie Wraith

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