Monday, 4 June 2012

Oil Painting 22 - The Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

DETAIL - Oil Painting 22 - Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant 2012

When I heard 6 months ago that a flotilla of 1000 craft was due to sail down the Thames to mark The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, I knew one way or another I would have to get there and paint this historic occaision as a centre piece for the 'Year of the Boat' project.

This en plein air oil painting of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee River Thames Pageant was probably the most difficult of my career; the logistics of researching a good spot, accommodation in London, physically walking all the set up around the capital, 2 days of preparing the background, securing the spot at 5am on the day, intense painting in the middle of a crowd, downpours of rain and a 7 hour journey home at the end, including squeezing through funneling crowd controls, on tubes and trains trying not to smudge the end result left me exhausted and suffering with ill health, but it was more than worth it!

A drizzly morning shot on the morning of the pageant 
I was fortunate to find a location where I could complete the piece elevated on a brick platform in front of a crowd in a similar position to the vantage point of Canaletto's painting The River Thames with St Paul's Cathedral on Lord Mayors Day.

Canaletto recorded with this staggering piece, the last time 1000 boats were on a pageant on the Thames in 1756. The National Maritime Museum are using this piece as the lead image for their exhibition celebrating the diamond jubilee 'Royal River' 

The crowds grew and grew
I was based at the Founders Arms by Blackfriars bridge near Tate Modern and Bankside gallery
God Save Our Queen!
The Royal Barge passing St Paul's

A great vantage point for a memorable show

The below photograph taken by @rachel_duk was picked up by ITV and used on their newspage on the day of the pageant -

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