Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (b.1926) 1974

Robert Norman Hepple (19081994)

Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (b.1926), Robert Norman Hepple
Oil on Panel
20th Century
30 x 25 inches 76.2 x 63.5 cm
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Hepple was a particular favourite of the Queen, and he is reported to have remarked that her sittings to him were ''worth it, for the conversation alone.'' Hepple painted members of the Royal Family on numerous occasions, and in addition to this portrait of the Queen Mother painted notable images of the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen and the Princess Royal. This particular portrait is related to a three-quarter length portrait commissioned by the Submarine Officers of HMS Dolphin in 1974. The Queen''s costume reflects this Naval circumstance, since she is portrayed in a naval boat cloak.

Hepple came from an artistic dynasty -both his father and uncle were painters - and first achieved recognition with his Self Portrait as a soldier (1926) which was accepted by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in that year. This painting in which the artist shows himself in a steel helmet and army uniform appears at first to be a particularly insightful and moving document of the Great War, but is in fact an effective piece of theatre, as the painter was a civilian who knew that the uniform would give his painting an impact attainable by no other guise.

During the Second World War Hepple was attached as official artist to the Fire Brigade, and produced a number of dramatic canvases that are in the collection of the Imperial War Museum, London.

In 1961 he was elected to the Royal Academy. Failing eyesight ended his career late in life, and tragically he met his death in a road accident returning from an election at the Royal Academy.
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