Monday, November 29

Queen puts quadruple portrait photographer at ease



Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by the British photographer Hugo Rittson Thomas, with a technique that involves the use of mirrors to show each sitter from all four sides Photographer Hugo Rittson Thomas has produced a striking quadruple portrait of the Queen – in one picture – and joked how the monarch put him at ease during the shoot.

Using mirrors he was able to capture full-length images of the Queen from the front, back and sides, creating a picture reminiscent of Anthony van Dyck’s famous triple portrait of Charles I.

The Duke of Cambridge and Duchess of Cornwall have also posed for the photographer and all the images will be part of the exhibition The Queen’s People, featuring photographs of members of the Royal Household and senior ceremonial figures in their traditional uniforms.

When his digital camera froze during the photoshoot, the photographer found it was the Queen who eased the tension: “The camera had a digital seizure but luckily I was about two-thirds of the way into the shoot but she was very calm and cool and put me at my ease.

“My brain had just frozen but she started talking to me and I was able to fix the problem in two minutes. The roles were reversed and she was the one putting the photographer at ease.”

In her full-length portrait the Queen is wearing a burgundy coloured dress, designed by her personal assistant and adviser Angela Kelly, with the Waterloo badge of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

The Queen was photographed in 2013 at Windsor Castle during an event to mark the 60th anniversary of her Colonelcy of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

The photographer said the shoot was held after the Queen’s famous appearance in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics and he mentioned the night when her dogs starred alongside James Bond star Daniel Craig.

He said: “I asked if she had enjoyed it and remember her saying she did and that she enjoyed having the corgis in the shoot and how they performed very well.”

Mr Rittson Thomas, who has photographed the Dalai Lama and David Cameron, said he managed to capture the Queen’s natural smile after he asked the passionate horse-owner how she would feel if she won the Epsom Derby – the only classic to have eluded her.

His project was inspired by 16th and 17th century paintings of monarchs such as Elizabeth I and her court, often painted against a black or dark background which emphasised the rich colours of the outfits worn.

William, Colonel of the Irish Guards, was photographed in 2012 when he and wife Kate joined the regiment to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. He was wearing his Irish Guards frock coat for the occasion.

Mr Rittson Thomas said the official photos of Prince George and Princess Charlotte taken by Kate following the birth of her daughter had impressed him.

The photographer said: “The Duchess of Cambridge was asking some incredibly detailed questions, now I realise why after her family photos were published, she’s an incredibly accomplished photographer.

“She was asking how we built the set and about the lighting and what we did in post-production.”

Camilla’s picture was taken earlier this year and she was photographed wearing formal attire, designed by Bruce Oldfield, together with family jewellery, on the day she gave a speech at the Royal Academy of Arts at its annual dinner in celebration of the institution’s summer exhibition.

Others featured in the exhibition, which opens later this month at a central London gallery, include the Bishop of London Richard Chartres, who is Dean of the Chapel Royal, and Lieutenant General David Leakey, who is the senior House of Lords officer Black Rod.

The Queen’s People exhibition will be held at Eleven Gallery from August 19 to September 19.