Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Queen gets it all off for sake of art

HRH sports a strategically draped New Zealand flag in Royal Tour.
Photo / Supplied
HRH sports a strategically draped New Zealand flag in Royal Tour. Photo / Supplied

It's our Queen, but not as we know her. Sixty years after the Queen ascended the throne in a ceremony laden with pomp, pageantry - and full dress - Northland artist Lester Hall has painted an image of Her Royal Highness as a saucy young sovereign wearing nothing but a crown and a strategically draped New Zealand flag.

The artist unveiled the revealing print late last year and has exhibited it throughout the country.

All his work was based on Maori-European contact, but done in a light-hearted way to provoke discussion, Hall said. He wanted to show the Queen as a real person - and a young, sexy one - when she breezed through New Zealand during her 1954 Royal Tour.

"It's a celebration of her as a young woman. When she came to visit us, she was virtually on her honeymoon. She was as desiring of fun and humour as any of us, but she has had to do this job for 60 years."

He had received one letter of complaint from a British immigrant, while a gallery owner had expressed concerns about offending British expats, but the work remained on show.

Monarchy New Zealand chairman Sean Palmer said he was "happy" with the image.

"It doesn't bother me or shock me. It's an up-to-date take on an institution that has evolved continuously in New Zealand's history and the Queen's reign.

"I'm happy to see the Queen so well depicted in his work ... she's very much belonging to New Zealand."

- Herald on Sunday

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