Queen’s portrait needs a second glance

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Robert Newbiggin’s unfinished portrait of the Queen. Pic © Tim Spencer-Tanfield / JMU Journalism

A local artist has been tasked with painting a portrait of the Queen which will go on display in St George’s Hall as part of a ‘new-look’ room.

Robert Newbiggin is nearing the completion of his work, with there due to be an unveiling inside the Liverpool landmark once the piece has been finished – after an important change to her likeness.

Although the Burscough-based painter has had his setbacks with it, and will not get the chance to meet Her Majesty in person, Robert says he is just grateful the opportunity came along thanks to another work of art.

Mr Newbiggin told JMU Journalism: “I went into St George’s Hall originally to donate a portrait of the late Cilla Black. That didn’t materialise, instead I was asked to paint a portrait of the Queen.”

After completing his original submission, Robert was asked to revisit his work after it was deemed that the Queen must be expressionless. He said: “I did it with a smile on her face, which I thought was pretty cool, but that wasn’t the case. I said I’ll have a go at a second attempt.

YouTube: Tim Spencer-Tanfield

“I had several attempts, but after a while I started losing passion because to change someone’s expression on a portrait you have got to change everything else – so I whited her face off completely. We’ve spoken again and now we’re going to do a second one. It is a fantastic honour to be asked to do this.”

Mr Newbiggin has previously painted the likeness of celebrities such as David Bowie, as well as Eric Morecambe – the latter of which was unveiled by the late comedian’s family in Morecambe Town Hall.

Robert Newbiggin’s portrait of Saffie Rose. Pic © Tim Spencer-Tanfield / JMU Journalism

A former professional boxer, the 53-year-old has also been working on a painting of Saffie Rose – the youngest victim of the terror attack at the Manchester Arena in May.

He said: “I started out by doing a portrait of Ariana Grande at the One Love concert, because she seemed really emotional up on stage.

“It then started to hit me about what had happened to little Saffie. I can be honest with you, I get emotional when painting things, and I admit I had four or five times when I got really emotional about it. We’re hoping to do something with it once it’s finished.”

Mr Newbiggin has since got in contact with Saffie’s family, who thanked him for the portrait.

About Tim Spencer Tanfield, JMU Journalism