"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Monday, April 13, 2020

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon,  later Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother 1900-2002

This 1923 charcoal drawing of Lady Elizabeth Lyon by John Singer Sargent is part of an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. It was lent to the exhibit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
This sensitive portrait captures Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on the threshold of a new life. She sat for Sargent just weeks before marrying Prince Albert, Duke of York, second son of King George V and Queen Mary. Unsure that she was suited for public life, Lady Elizabeth refused the prince at least three times before finally accepting his proposal. He unexpectedly became King George VI upon his brother's abdication in 1936, and she endeared herself to the British public by her courage and compassion during the Second World War.

Sargent was commissioned to make drawings of Lady Elizabeth and Prince Albert as gifts for the couple's wedding in April 1923. The artist later declared Lady Elizabeth to be “the only completely unselfconscious sitter I ever had,” in marked contrast to her notoriously shy and nervous husband. After George VI died in 1952, she assumed the role of Queen Mother when her daughter Elizabeth II ascended to the throne.
Wikipedia gives this short summary:
Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was the wife of King George VI, and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. She was queen of the United Kingdom and the Dominions from her husband's accession in 1936 until his death in 1952, after which she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter. She was the last empress of India.

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