Ottawa commissions a new portrait of The Queen

The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, today announced that the Government of Canada has commissioned a new portrait of Her Majesty The Queen that will be unveiled during the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

"As the minister responsible for the upcoming Diamond Jubilee celebrations, I am delighted that this new portrait will be the first of several Diamond Jubilee projects," said Minister Moore. "It will be a fitting gift to the nation and will honour our monarch who has served Canada since 1952 and continues to do so with such distinction."

Canadian artist Phil Richards of Scarborough, Ontario, was selected to paint Her Majesty’s portrait. Born in Toronto in 1951, Mr. Richards studied at the Ontario College of Art, graduating with his diploma in 1973.

Mr. Richards has worked full time as a visual artist for more than 35 years, with numerous solo and group shows. He has created everything from intimate portraits to large-scale murals for facilities such as the Congress Centre in Ottawa and the Eaton Centre in Toronto. Portrait commissions have included a former premier of Ontario for Queen’s Park, the former president of the University of Toronto, chancellors of the University of Western Ontario, and the CEOs of Scotiabank and London Life.

Mr. Richard’s work can be found in hundreds of collections in both North America and Europe. These collections range from public (Art Gallery of Ontario, Confederation Centre of the Arts in Prince Edward Island, Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery, and Kitchener-Waterloo Regional Art Gallery), to corporate, to private.

Mr. Richards will meet Her Majesty during the 2010 Royal Tour and work with photographs taken while she is in Ottawa. Over the next year and a half, he will complete the first Canadian portrait of Her Majesty undertaken since 1976. The new portrait will be unveiled to Canadians at a special ceremony during the Diamond Jubilee.

On February 6, 2012, Queen Elizabeth will mark the 60th anniversary of her reign. She is the second sovereign to reach this mark in Canadian history, the other being The Queen’s great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, in 1897.

"I am extremely pleased that a new piece of Canadian heritage is being created to mark such a historic and auspicious occasion," said Minister Moore. "I know that Canadians eagerly await this new work and are looking forward to celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee."

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