Works by twenty contemporary artists gifted by the Royal Academy of Arts to Queen Elizabeth II to mark the Platinum Jubilee have gone on display today at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. The works of art on paper are by Royal Academicians elected in the past decade, including Rebecca Salter (President of the RA), Wolfgang Tillmans, Lubaina Himid and Yinka Shonibare CBE, and were presented to mark Her late Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
Artists with works on display include: Sir David Adjaye OBE RA, Rana Begum RA, Adam Caruso and Peter St John RA, Ryan Gander OBE RA Elect, Thomas Heatherwick CBE RA Lubaina Himid CBE RA, Louisa Hutton OBE RA and Matthias Sauerbruch, Vanessa Jackson RA, Sir Isaac Julien RA, Amanda Levete CBE RA, Jock McFadyen RA, Níall McLaughlin MBE RA, Cathie Pilkington RA, Peter Randall-Page RA, Rebecca Salter PRA , Tim Shaw RA, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, Emma Stibbon RA, Wolfgang Tillmans RA, Jane and Louise Wilson RA
The Royal Academy was established in 1768 with the support of George III, and the connection between the Sovereign and the Academy has continued to flourish ever since. The Platinum Jubilee Gift follows similarly generous gifts to mark the Coronation in 1953, the Silver Jubilee in 1977 and the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and bears witness to the diversity of contemporary British art – from traditional media such as brush and ink to the boundless possibilities of digital prints, and in modes ranging from meticulous architectural construction to playful abstraction.
The eclectic group of works on display includes Wolfgang Tillmans’ Regina, a photograph taken during Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, which shows Her late Majesty in the Gold State Coach passing along Fleet Street from St Paul’s Cathedral after a Service of Thanksgiving. Yinka Shonibare has contributed Common Wealth, a digital print of an orchid against a collage of platinum leaf and Dutch wax printed fabric. Rana Begum, one of the most recently elected Academicians, has contributed WP547, one of a series of works by the artist composed of layers of colourful spraypainted circles. Sir Isaac Julien’s Lady of the Lake is a fictionalised portrait of the American abolitionist Anna Murray Douglass, a principal figure in the ‘Underground Railroad’, a network of linked routes by which enslaved people could secure their liberation and travel North to free states and Canada during the mid-19th century.
Also on display is a digital print of Thomas Heatherwick’s design for the Tree of Treesproject. The 21-foot sculpture incorporating 350 saplings was erected outside Buckingham Palace as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a national tree planting initiative, and was illuminated during a special Platinum Jubilee ceremony on 2 June 2022.
Previous gifts by the Royal Academy to Queen Elizabeth II have contained works by leading British artists such as Augustus John, Sir Alfred Munnings and Stanley Spencer (marking the Coronation in 1953); Peter Blake and Dame Elisabeth Frink (in celebration of The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977); and Tracey Emin, David Hockney and Sir Anish Kapoor (to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012).
The Royal Academy gift of works on paper are on display until 26 February alongside Japan: Courts and Culture, an exhibition telling the story of 350 years of diplomatic, artistic and cultural exchange between the British and Japanese royal and imperial families.
Royal Academy Platinum Jubilee Gift is included in a ticket to the exhibition Japan: Courts and Culture at The Queen’s Gallery until 26 February 2023.