The Queen has been painted by artists throughout her reign, but the latest portrait features one unusual item – the monarch’s handbag.
Award-winning artist Ben Sullivan included the accessory in a new portrait of the Queen to help show the person behind the head of state.
The Queen is rarely seen without her handbag – usually a black patent design by Launer – and in the painting, commissioned by the RAF Club to
mark its centenary, she is shown sat in an ornate chair in Windsor Castle’s white drawing room with the item by her feet.
It will hang in the RAF Club and the Queen watched her portrait being unveiled when she visited the institution in London’s Piccadilly to celebrate
its 100th anniversary.
Mr Sullivan, who won the BP Portrait Award in 2017, chatted to the Queen whose visit was her first official engagement of the autumn outside
He said about his sitting with the Queen at Windsor Castle: “I was saying it was quite cold when we did it because it was the end of February
and she said, ‘it doesn’t look like I’m cold’ so I think by then we had some extra heaters brought up.
“I think the idea was to capture something of the role of the monarch, but one tries to get behind that to the person.
“And I really like the idea her handbag was placed in front of the gilt chair. It was almost happenstance that it was placed there but it gives
some idea there’s actually a person as well as a figurehead – it’s personal.
“It’s where she put it, and I thought I could take it out, but then I thought – actually it’s quite a nice thing, a personal thing.”