HM Queen Elizabeth II (1926- ) Reigned 1952-

David Bailey (1938 - )

Black and white photograph, archival inkjet print


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© David Bailey

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  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall

    David Bailey’s black and white portrait of Queen Elizabeth II presents us with a timeless image that is also modern and dynamic. Dressed in what is actually a bright blue gown, and a sapphire-and-diamond necklace and earrings (a present from her father, George VI, on the occasion of her wedding to Prince Philip, in 1947), the Queen is smiling and relaxed. Interviewed by The Guardian in February 2017, Bailey commented:

    I’ve always been a huge fan of the Queen. She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I’ve always liked strong women, and she is a very strong woman.

    David Bailey CBE photographed Her Majesty The Queen in March 2014 for the GREAT Britain Campaign, which aims to promote the UK abroad. The first portrait in the set was unveiled on 20 April 2014 to mark Her Majesty's 88th birthday. It then featured alongside two colour photographs in an exclusive article in the June/July edition of Harper's Bazaar magazine’s international editions. The full set was first displayed in 10 Downing Street on 3 December 2014. The portraits are used to support GREAT activity around the world, including at events such as in the GREAT Festival of Creativity in Shanghai in March 2015. In 2017, the portraits were reissued to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne.
  • About the artist
    Born in Leytonstone in 1938, David Royston Bailey left school at 15 to become a copy boy at the Yorkshire Post. Affected by dyslexia, Bailey reflected in 2011 that ‘dyslexia gave me a privilege. It pushed me into being totally visual.’ He was called up for National Service in 1956, serving with the Royal Air Force in Singapore. Bailey worked as an assistant to David Ollins and at the John French studio, before joining John Cole’s Studio Five in 1960 as a photographer where he worked as a fashion photographer for British Vogue magazine. Associated with the 'Swinging London' of the 1960s, Bailey further captured this scene in TV Documentaries and film. In 2001, he was appointed a CBE and awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship in 2005. The exhibition Bailey’s Stardust opened at the National Gallery in 2014, and brought together a wide variety of his photographs from a career that has spanned more than half a century.
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  • Details
    HM Queen Elizabeth II (1926- ) Reigned 1952-
    Black and white photograph, archival inkjet print
    height: 91.0; width: 87.1 cm; 5.5 cm
    Presented by the GREAT Campaign, March 2020
    GAC number