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21 July 2017
Morning Sedition

God Save The Queen!

Lucien Freud's Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

It makes her look like one of the royal corgis who has suffered a stroke.

Robert Simon, Editor, British Art Journal, quoted in "Freud Royal Portrait Divides Critics" 21 December 2001

The portrait of the Queen Elizabeth II of England done by Lucien Freud has apparantly vanished from public display. Hardly surprising, given how unflattering it is.

The newspaper concedes that the Queen "is no longer the heart-breakingly beautiful young woman she was", but maintains she is still "easy on the eye".

Yet the Telegraph adds Freud has captured the Queen's strong sense of duty and Hanoverian roots, and concludes that the work is "thought provoking" and "every bit as good" as previous efforts.

The chief art critic of The Times, Richard Cork, describes the image as "painful, brave, honest, stoical and, above all, clear sighted".

But in the same paper, Richard Morrison says: "The chin has what can only be described as a six-o'clock shadow, and the neck would not disgrace a rugby prop forward.

"The expression is of a sovereign who has endured not one annus horribilis but an entire reign of them. The Merry Monarch it isn't."

The Sun calls the portrait "a travesty".

The paper's royal photographer, Arthur Edwards, says: "They should hang it in the kharzi.

"Freud should be locked in the Tower for this."

Robert Simon, editor of the British Art Journal, tells the newspaper: "It makes her look like one of the royal corgis who has suffered a stroke."

Tinman Gallery's Collection of Queen Elizabeth II photographs

It's not like this should have been a surprise to anyone. Despite being England's most famous painter, Lucien Freud — brother of Clement, a very talented writer and restaurateur, and grandson of Sigmund — paints exceedingly unflattering portraits that make the subject look lumpy and misshapen. (Ok, Leigh Bowery was lumpy and misshapen, but Freud does this with everyone.) He is famous for not doing commissions; why anyone would want to look like lumpy sausage is beyond me, but there's no accounting for taste. Freud claims he wants to render the face as a body part. (If that's a body part, it needs liposuction.)

Normally I underplay facial expression when painting the figure, because I want expression to emerge through the body. I used to do only heads, but came to feel that I relied too much on the face. I want the head, as it were, to be more like another limb.

— Lucian Freud, quoted by Michael Kimmelman

Anyway, the painting is now on private display in Windsor Castle. I bet. Probably already destroyed in a "tragic accident".

Spitting Image Puppet for Queen Elizabeth II

The Mirror says Freud could have saved the Queen the trouble of sitting for him by copying her Spitting Image puppet.

"Freud Royal Portrait Divides Critics" 21 December 2001

The Spitting Image puppeteers created exceedingly unflattering puppets for political satire. Their queen puppet is ever so more attractive than Freud's portrait, which ought to say something about Freud. The man can paint — his early work is very representational — so he's clearly got an agenda in making people, attractive or not, look repulsive. Either that, or he needs a really good opthomologist.

God save the Queen
the fascist regime,
they made you a moron
a potential H-bomb.

God save the Queen
she ain't no human being.
There is no future
in England's dreaming


God save the Queen
we mean it man
we love our queen
God saves

God save the Queen
'cos tourists are money
and our figurehead
is not what she seems

"God Save The Queen" by J. Rotten, G. Matlock, S. Jones, P. Cook, The Sex Pistols


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