Robbie Wraith RP

Collection of the artist

Study for Her Majesty the Queen for the Portrait commissioned for Shell

26 x 20 cm (10 x 8 ins)
Oil on panel

Robbie left school at 16, and studied in Italy and England with Pietro Annigoni, at his invitation: this close association lasted until Annigoni’s death, including as assistant during Annigoni’s cycle of frescoes in Ponte Buggianese.

Since then he has had thirty eight one-man exhibitions in Britain, Europe, China and the USA. He has work in the collection of HM The Queen, as well as more than 40 pictures in the pri- vate collection of HRH The Prince of Wales, and also in the Royal Collection Windsor, The Vat- ican, Chatsworth, The National Trust, The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, Oxford and Cambridge Universities and many others. Portrait sitters have included Her Majesty the Queen, Nelson Mandela, the 11th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and many others.

Diary Note – February 1998

First visit to Buckingham Palace for a meeting with Angela Kelly, the Queen’s
Dresser, to talk about the clothes and jewellery.
At the gate I am directed across the front courtyard to the Privy Purse door.
The marching band appears, playing ‘Yellow submarine’ and I only just make it across. There is a doorbell!

A small waiting room, then Sir Robin Janvrin takes me to the Yellow Drawing Room. Everyone very helpful – would I like this here or that there, this chair or that, the easel here or there…
‘Maybe a little further over?’ and all five of us move the chair, and then two of us move the footstool. Everyone relaxed and extremely helpful.

Diary Note – 27 February 1998

First sitting. The palace gate, 10am.. .hurrying, and nervous, but I force myself to stop and lin- ger among the tourists to savour the moment.
A grey day, but not too dark.
The footman on duty doesn’t know where the yellow drawing room is…

‘Its ok, I know,’ I say ‘it’s along the front corridor, past the Sargents…’.
Everything is in place, a bottle of water and two glasses with ER 11 on them have appeared.
I start to prepare my paints and medium, check the angles and position of the easel. Towards 11 every conceivable detail is ready. I watch the crowds outside, the relentless traffic and tide of life.
I wait between the blank canvas and the ticking clock, the distant hum of a million English moments.
The door opens and the Queen walks in, red dress, black cloak, diamonds…
‘Here I am!’

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual exhibition in honour of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022.

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