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Sir Norman Hartnell (1901-79)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Coronation Robes, 1953 drawn 1953

Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil | 51.5 x 38.5 cm (sight) (sight) | RCIN 451858

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The Queen asked Norman Hartnell to make the Coronation Gown in October 1952. In response to The Queen’s request that the gown should be of a similar line to her wedding dress and made of silk satin (duchesse satin), Hartnell submitted 8 alternative designs for the Coronation Gown for The Queen’s consideration. The first design was based on Queen Victoria’s coronation dress, the second had gold embroidery, the third silver and crystal embroidery, the fourth was inspired by the theme of the Madonna, the fifth had coloured embroideries, the sixth gold embroideries of oak leaves and the seventh incorporated the Tudor Rose of England. The eighth design incorporated the national emblems of the United Kingdom: the rose, thistle, shamrock and leek. The Queen selected the eighth design but asked Hartnell to include the emblems of the dominions of which she was Queen and for the embroideries to be carried out in coloured silks. This ninth and final design is seen in Hartnell’s sketch here.

This presentation sketch was given to The Queen by Norman Hartnell. It illustrates the final design for The Queen’s Coronation Gown. Although signed by Hartnell, it was almost certainly drawn by one the sketch artists he employed.