In honour of the marriage celebration of William, Prince of Wales, and Miss Catherine Middleton, the Museum has placed on view our portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Rumored at one time to be the sole portrait of the Queen on United States soil, the painting will be on view for a very limited time.
Commissioned to paint a life portrait of Elizabeth II, Winston-Salem artist Joe King sought to convey the “warm and charming personality” of the British monarch—quite a contrast to the imperious boy king Louis XV on the opposite wall. However, when the painting was unveiled in London, the critics pounced, dismissing it as a “Hollywood version of aristocracy.” The British public was generally kinder to the artist’s romantic idea of royalty, though at least one viewer remarked on the queen’s uncanny resemblance to Ingrid Bergman.
Joseph Wallace King, Queen Elizabeth II, 1971, oil on canvas, gift to the State of North Carolina from the Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation, 1972