A portrait of the Queen, which was first rejected by Liverpool’s Town Hall in 1952 and has been locked away in storage for nearly 60 years, will now hang permanently in St George’s Hall.
The painting was created by John Napper for the Queen’s Coronation, with the intention of being hung in the Town Hall, however Liverpool City Council criticised the painting for being a poor likeness of the Queen and making her neck look “too long”.
Even the famous painter himself admitted it was “a beautiful painting of a queen, but not this Queen”. He was forced to create a second painting in which he altered the size of her neck.
Alan Smith, manager of St George’s Hall, believes that the two paintings will play a great part in connecting the two halls.
He told JMU Journalism: “The painting now links more closely still the Town Hall and St George’s Hall. The original painting we now have at St George’s Hall, whilst the second hangs in the main stairwell in the Town Hall. Visitors can now compare both paintings in each building and complete the story. Also, it is a sign of respect that both halls are able to pay to the Queen in her coronation year.”
For a short period the portrait was hung at the Walker Art Gallery, before spending the rest of its time in storage, but now the painting has finally been displayed in honour of the Queen on the 60th anniversary of her coronation.
Mr Smith said: “St George’s Hall, and therefore Liverpool City Council, wished to be among the first to celebrate the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.”
The launch of the original painting follows the debut of the first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge at the National Portrait Gallery. Similarly, the Paul Emsley painting was at the centre of controversy as many believed it was not a true reflection of the Duchess.
Mr Smith told JMU Journalism why St George’s Hall is a great location to showcase the work.
He said: “The painting works on numerous levels, but also in coinciding with the first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge, to again show our support.
“On Sundays, the registrars utilise this room to inaugurate new citizens to Great Britain. This means that after the citizenship ceremonies, the recipients leave the Grand Jury room and the first thing they will now see is a portrait of her Majesty the Queen.”