How the new coin portrait of the Queen was designed

The new portrait has been created by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark and is only the fifth definitive portrait of the Queen to appear on coins.

The Queens fifth coin portrait by Jody Clark

The Royal Mint has unveiled a new portrait of the Queen, which will appear on UK coins. It is only the fifth definitive portrait of the Queen to feature on coinage.

The new portrait has been created by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark, whose design was selected from a number of anonymous submissions to a design competition. Clark is the first Royal Mint engraver to be chosen to create a definitive royal coinage portrait in more than 100 years.

Jody Clark with his portrait of the Queen
Jody Clark with his portrait of the Queen

Clark says: “I’m part of the Royal Mint design team and we get the opportunity to enter all the advisory committee competitions – this was one I couldn’t really pass up.”

He adds: “When it goes into circulation in the summer my portrait will be in millions of people’s pockets – it’s going to take some time for me to wrap my head around that.”

The last Royal Mint engraver to be commissioned to undertake a royal portrait was George William de Saulles, who engraved the portrait of Edward VII which first appeared on coinage in 1902.

Clark's new effigy
Clark’s new effigy

Clark’s portrayal of The Queen, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation, was selected in a closed competition organised by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC), a consultative panel to Her Majesty’s Treasury comprising experts from such fields as history, sculpture, architecture, art and design.

A number of specialist designers from across Britain were invited to submit their own interpretations of the Queen’s portrait under anonymous cover, and each one was judged on its merits and suitability before the winning artwork was recommended to the Chancellor and, ultimately, The Queen for approval.

Clark says: “Everyone who entered the competition was supplied with the same reference material, showing the Queen facing different ways and in a number of different angles. I also did quite a lot of research online to find more natural, unposed images of her.”

Sketch for the new design
Sketch for the new design

When it appears on coins later this year, Clark’s image will become the fourth portrait currently in circulation, joining those created in 1968, 1985 and 1998. The Royal Mint says: “together, the coins that carry them tell the story of Her Majesty’s growing stature and maturity and paint a compelling picture of the story of her reign.”

Clark says: “I looked at the designs of the previous effigies and I wanted my design to work as part of a set as well as to work on its own.”

The four previous designs
The four previous designs

Adam Lawrence, Chief Executive of The Royal Mint, says: “Capturing a portrait on the surface of a coin demands the utmost skill, and is one of the most challenging disciplines of the coin designer’s art.”

The previous portrait of the Queen was created by Ian Rank-Broadley and has been in circulation for 16 years.

Earlier designs were created by Raphael Maklouf (in 1985), Arnold Machin, (in 1974) and Mary Gillick (in 1953).

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