The Daily Telegraph
‘Within seconds, I was at ease’
DAN LLYWELYN HALL, WRU PORTRAIT, 2013
My portrait was commissioned by the Welsh Rugby Union, and was actually the first official portrait to be commissioned in Wales, which added an extra bit of responsibility.
Painting Queen Elizabeth was always something I had considered to be the ultimate portrait commission, because it wrestles with all of the problems of public persona – how the public see the figure, and how you’re going to represent that. I had great respect for her as a figure, and a lady, rather than just an institution, and I wanted to explore that by getting behind that public image to achieve something more personal. She had enormous responsibility, and it must have been quite a lonely role – because nobody else did it. In a way, she had to write her own job description.
The sitting took place in a single day in the White Room at Windsor Castle. When I arrived at the security gate, I realised I’d forgotten to pack my passport, and the guard wasn’t going to let me in. I told him I was there to paint Queen Elizabeth and he just laughed, and I thought I’d already messed it up.
Once I got to the White Room, it was much more plain sailing – I prepared everything from the positions to the lighting and then the late Queen came in with her secretary. Within seconds, I was at ease, because she’s very talkative and it just became a conversation.