National Film Board puts final touches to “The Portrait”

A giant life-size painting of Queen Elizabeth forms the subject of The Portrait, a documentary by Oscar-nominated director Hubert Davis and NFB producer Lea Marin.
June 7, 2012

Canadian artist Phil Richards arrived Wednesday at Buckingham Palace for a private audience with Queen Elizabeth, and with a National Film Board of Canada (NFB) film crew in tow.

Accompanied by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Richards swept into the private residence to unveil a giant life-size painting of the Queen that was commissioned by the Canadian government for her Diamond Jubilee celebration.

“It’s changed quite a bit since I last saw it,” the Queen reportedly told Richards, who in 2010 initially met the British monarch during a 45-minute photography session at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

The entire creative process behind the painting, which took two years to complete and depicts the Commonwealth leader beside a desk and a Canadian flag at Rideau Hall, is the subject of the documentary, The Portrait, by Oscar-nominated director Hubert Davis and NFB producer Lea Marin.

To avoid a diplomatic banana skin, the NFB film crew left their cameras behind during the private residence visit, but did capture Richards on his way to, and from, Buckingham Palace. That footage provides the final sequences for the NFB film on location in London.

The Portrait starts with the original July 2010 Ottawa photo session. Over the next two years, Davis, helped by the Canadian secretary to the Queen, documented Richards studying the monarch’s likeness, before preparing and executing his portrait.

The Portrait will be available this fall as part of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Collector’s Edition, which goes to market after the film makes a tour of the festival circuit.

From Playback Daily. Image courtesy the Prime Minister of Canada website

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