Most people only knew the queen by her photographic image, particularly her Christmas Day afternoon TV appearance. It was therefore clear that photographic reference was necessary for a publicly relevant portrait of her. By the early seventies with the movements of New Realism, Photo Realism and Super Realism, use of photography in art had become common practice and acceptable in a way that it had not previously been.
Nick Treadwell with “sic transit gloria” by Mike Gorman 1975
“The first time I attempted to persuade artists to contribute to a theme show of portraits of the British Queen was in 1972. It was to be the first of my gallery`s long series of theme exhibitions, but the artists were totally against it, making such comments as “Look Nick, I have enough of my own ideas, I am not going off on a tangent to paint some corney idea of yours” or “Look Nick, I am not some fawning monarchist, No Way!”. Following the success of other theme shows, I tried again in 1975, asking them, if they got a telephone call from Buckingham Palace, would they agree? and enough of the artists said – yes, if they could keep to their own values – and I was able to go ahead with “Happy and Glorious”. As I had expected, it got blanket publicity coverage world wide, including the front cover of Der Zeit in Germany, a substantial article in Time Magazine in the USA, A big piece on the news pages of the Sunday Times, Die Presse, Austria, The Australian and so on and so on…Two years later, at the time of the queen`s Jubilee, the Sunday Times Magazine gave over three pages to twelve portraits of Elizabeth 2, in which they included four from my gallery`s exhibition. The most successful and persistently reproduced over the years has been “Memories” by Graham Dean (with “Herself “, seated on a wooden throne with Union Jack mug of tea on it`s arm, headscarf covering her hair, which is apparently in curlers, reading a scrap-book of herself, with two corgis included in the background) which was once again reproduced in the Radio Times at the time of her 80th birthday.” N.T. 2010