Controversial Queen painting hidden for years after Doncaster Council row goes up for sale

A controversial painting of The Queen hidden away for years by the artist who created it after a row with Doncaster Council is back on sale for £8,000.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 3:41 pm
The controversial portrait of The Queen by Norman Hutchinson, which sparked an outcry when it was piainted in 1988. (Photo: Woolley and Wallis).

British painter Norman Hutchinson was commissioned by Doncaster Council to create a portrait of Queen Elizabeth to hang in the Mansion House more than 30 years ago.

But the contentious portrait was dubbed ‘dour’ and depicted a ‘stern’ and ‘severe’ looking Queen – leading it to be savaged by critics.

The fallout saw Doncaster Council eventually send it back to Hutchinson - and he kept it in storage for a decade, while maintaining that the painting showed the Queen’s strength.

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In his painting, Hutchinson, who died in 2010, depicted the monarch in the solemn outfit she wore to meet the Pope in 1988.

Former dancer Caroline Brown, 72, who was a friend of Hutchinson, bought it off him in 2000, but is now selling it for £8,000, alongside 13 other works by the painter, including a nude portrait of her called Ageing Dancer.

The story made the front page of several national newspapers at the time and put Doncaster in the spotlight around the world.

Following the row, the artist kept hold of it and put it in storage for a decade before Ms Brown, bought it off him for an undisclosed sum.

The painting hung in her townhouse in Bath for two decades but she is now selling it as she has recently downsized to a London apartment.

The 5.5ft by 5ft painting is tipped to fetch £8,000 with auctioneers Woolley & Wallis, of Salisbury in Wiltshire.

Ms Brown told the Daily Mail: “Norman fell out with Mansion House who had commissioned the portrait, and kept it in storage for 10 years.

She continued: 'One day, I asked him about it. 'When I asked him how much he wanted for it, I said I would buy it myself and it has been on my staircase since.'

Victor Fauvelle of Woolley & Wallis, said: 'The portrait was a bit contentious when it was first painted and was described by the press as "the stern Queen" and was likened to certain portraits of Queen Victoria.

'It’s a painting with a real presence and shows a different side to our monarch than many of the other portraits of her.”