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FOCUS: Painting the Jubilee

FOCUS: Painting the Jubilee

Friday 05 May 2023

FOCUS: Painting the Jubilee

Friday 05 May 2023


As the Coronation approaches, Jersey-born artist Emily Allchurch looks back on her role in commemorating a previous piece of Royal history when she first met the future King Charles III...

Born in Jersey, Emily Allchurch is a UK-based artist best known for recreating old masterwork paintings using photographs and digital collage.

One of her most recognisable paintings, 'Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, 3rd June 2012',  is currently hanging in Jersey's Royal Court Building. Not only did it help launch her career, but it also resulted in her meeting the future King. 

In 2012, the States of Jersey sought out an artist to commemorate Jersey's involvement in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, and opened up submissions from artists with a connection to Jersey to contribute their proposals. 

Emily's work was chosen, and she applied her trademark technique of digitally combining hundreds of photographs to capture this historic moment. 

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Pictured: 'Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, 3rd June 2012.'

On 3 June 2012,  670 boats proceeded down the Thames to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne. Two Jersey boats took part in the celebration, the Norman Le Brocq and the Howard D. 

The Howard D was Jersey's first ever motorised lifeboat, brought to the island in 1937 and serving throughout the occupation, while The Norman Le Brocq was provided by the States of Jersey Fisheries. Emily herself took part in the procession aboard the Norman Le Brocq. 

Emily said: "It was a real honour as an artist to have been commissioned by the States of Jersey to witness, record and interpret such an historic event for posterity."

Her artwork drew inspiration from an old master painting by Francis Wheatley and Richard Paton entitled 'The Lord Mayor's Procession by Water to Westminster, London, 9 November 1789.' 

The aim of Emily's piece was to recreate the core of the original artwork and update it for modern times. Not only that, but Emily tried to merge two entirely different places together. 

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Pictured: 'The Lord Mayor's Procession by Water to Westminster, London, 9 November 1789.' 

Emily combined thousands of her own photographs of the river pagaent with images of people in and around Jersey taken mainly in the Elizabeth Harbour area. As a result, the foreground of Emily's work is made up of stills of life in Jersey – of Jersey people and Jersey places, all looking out into the procession. 

Emily said: "There is a long tradition of painting these river pageants, so I was simply bringing it up to date. In the original, you can see the skyline, you can see St Paul's...I wanted to combine the two locations and merge them together, so you can see things like Jersey's pink granite in the foreground, and the Elizabeth harbour sign.

"It has the whole excitement of that scene, set against a 21st century skyline." 

Her artwork was unveiled in 2012 by then Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to the island on 18 July 2012.

Emily said: "I think they liked it. They both commented on what a cold day it had been, so we had a little laugh about that...it was a real honour for me."

She continued: "It was a real landmark moment for me, not just in terms of my career but I felt the honour and responsibility of recording this historical moment for Jersey.

"Hopefully it has stood the test of time." 

Pictured top: Emily Allchurch next to 'Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, 3rd June 2012' in the Royal Court. 

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