Among the highlights is the last sculpture of HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1900-2002), before her death, which was created by Martin Jennings (b.1957), the sculptor designing the new coins featuring King Charles III.
The bust was one of two that Jennings created of the Queen Mother in 1998. One of them was commissioned by the Friends of St Paul’s Cathedral on the occasion of her upcoming 100th birthday and was unveiled by the Princess Royal in 2000. It now sits on permanent display in the OBE chapel at St Paul’s Cathedral. The other is the example offered here.
Jennings’ creation of the busts involved a total of seven sittings with the Queen Mother at Clarence House and they were initially modelled in plaster for ease of transport, before being later cast in bronze.
She is naturalistically modelled wearing her favourite Greville tiara (created in 1921 for British society hostess and philanthropist Margaret Greville DBE by jeweller Lucien Hirtz, at Boucheron and bequeathed to the Queen Mother on her death in 1942. It is now often worn by HM the Queen Consort). In the portrait bust it was worn alongside a matching necklace and earrings above flowing robes, which were held in place by a brooch.
Jennings is known for many notable public works, such as a statue of the Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole in front of St Thomas’ Hospital in London and George Orwell outside BBC Broadcasting House.