Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne on 6 February 1952. When the dazzling young Queen disembarked SS Gothic in Sydney on 3 February 1954, she was the first reigning Monarch to set foot on Australian soil and she was greeted by tumultuous adoration.
A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II painted by Australian artist Sir William Dargie captured the spirit of that time, and has become one of Australia’s most iconic paintings. Replicas subsequently graced homes, schools and halls across the land, and is still today, instantly recognisable to generations of Australians.
Dargie’s painting depicted The Queen wearing a mimosa gold tulle dress adorned with sparkling gold motifs. Coined the ‘wattle dress’ by the Australian media, it was especially designed for the Royal tour by couturier Norman Hartnell. Her Majesty wore it during the first evening engagement after arriving in Sydney, and again at her last evening function in Perth before departing Australia.
“We now have in our own country a portrait of our Queen painted during the spring of her lifetime by a distinguished Australian artist,” one journalist enthused. It both pleased and flattered the Australian public that a portrait had been painted especially for them.
With so much appeal to a specifically Australian audience, we’re delighted to be able to feature Dargie’s celebrated work on a special commemorative release celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. Released this month, the 2012-dated coin is struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver with a limited mintage of just 7,500.