A new royal portrait among six of the best

Royal Mail issued a Royal Portraits set of six stamps on May 30 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and the 1st class value reproduces a detail of a portrait which it commissioned specially.

The painting by Nicky Philipps is a full-length study showing the Queen in her Order of the Garter robes.
This is the first time Royal Mail has commissioned a painted portrait of the Queen. It will now be donated to the Royal Collection.

All six stamps show head-and-shoulders details of larger painted works, specially commissioned by various other organisations, spanning the length of the reign.

The stamps were designed by Atelier Works, and printed by Walsall in gravure.

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH  An oblique but worthy way to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation

The quality of the original artwork is outstanding, even if the detail is not always flattering

If only the Annigoni portrait had been selected as the 1st class design!

2nd class Portrait by Terence Cuneo 1953
The Lord Lieutenants of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland commissioned Cuneo to record the Coronation in 1953. He attended all eight rehearsals for the event and spent eight hours sketching during the ceremony. His final painting showed the Queen accepting the homage of the nobility, wearing the Imperial Mantle and St Edward’s Crown; the stamp shows a preparatory oil sketch.

1st class Portrait by Nicola Jane Philipps 2013
The newly commissioned portrait is the result of Philipps’ three sittings with the Queen, which took place in the Chinese Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in the autumn of 2012. The complete painting shows the Queen dressed in the Order of the Garter robes, with her beloved corgi and dorgi (corgi-dachshund cross) dogs at her feet.

78p Portrait by Andrew Festing 1999
Commissioned by the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the retirement and nursing home for retired soldiers, Festing’s portrait is of the Queen wearing the regalia for the State Opening of Parliament. The full painting shows her on the steps of the Hospital’s Council Chamber, with two Chelsea Pensioners and a studio version of Anthony van Dyck’s portrait of the family of King Charles I in the background.

88p Portrait by Pietro Annigoni 1955
Annigoni’s famous portrait of the Queen wearing the star and robes of the Order of the Garter was commissioned in 1954 by the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, for their magnificent hall overlooking the River
Thames in London. The complete painting includes a background landscape of the British countryside, with a distant fishing boat.

£1.28 Portrait by Sergei Pavlenko 2000
Commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Drapers to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Queen becoming a Freeman of the Company, Pavlenko’s portrait hangs in the Court Dining Room at Drapers’ Hall in London. It shows the Queen wearing Garter robes, with the addition of the Drapers’ brooch. The complete painting has a backdrop of the Grand Staircase at Buckingham Palace.

£1.88 Portrait by Richard Stone 1992
Stone’s portrait was commissioned to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the granting of a Royal Charter to his home town of Colchester, and hangs today in Colchester Moot Hall. The full painting shows the Queen wearing the full regalia for the State Opening of Parliament, against a black background. Somewhat prophetically, she remarked at the time that it would make a good stamp!

The presentation pack was written by Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures.
Stamp cards, a first day cover and a coin cover are also available.


Set of 6 stamps £5.94
Presentation pack £6.45
Stamp cards £2.70
First day cover £7.58
Coin cover £17.50
Total £40.17