Year 2 Visual Arts

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Looking Good: The Queen's Portrait


Looking Good

Have you had your photograph taken at school? Is there a picture of you on a wall or shelf at home? If there is, it is your portrait. 'Portrait' is the word we use to describe a picture of a real person. Portraits can be taken with a camera; they can also be drawn, painted or sculpted. One of the most famous portraits in visual arts is the Mona Lisa. We'll learn more about that portrait in What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know.

Sometimes portraits tell us how a person looked or felt, sometimes they tell us about the times in which they lived and sometimes they honour a person for a special event. This portrait of the Queen was taken to honour her Diamond Jubilee, celebrating her sixty years as the Queen.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Portrait

The Queen is wearing a State Dress that is made of materials of different textures: white silk, satin, lace and sequins. Finding words to talk about how things feel to touch is called describing their texture. This dress was made especially for the Queen in Buckingham Palace and is decorated with silver sequins. Do you see how the lighting in this portrait catches the sparkles of the light reflecting off the sequins?

The Queen is wearing the State Diadem, which is a name for the special crown on her head. Do you see the shining diamonds in it? The Queen wears this special crown during the State Opening of Parliament, and she also wore it on her Coronation Day when she became the Queen sixty years ago. In this portrait, the State Diadem visually shows the connection between the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and her Coronation Day.

A portrait can show important things that tell about a person's life and their family. Do you see the Collet Necklace that the Queen is wearing? This necklace once belonged to Queen Victoria, and it has been worn by five generations of Queens. Queen Victoria was the Queen's great-great-grandmother, and she wore this necklace during her own official Diamond Jubilee photograph. Queen Victoria was the only other member of the British monarchy (a King or Queen) who celebrated a Diamond Jubilee. Do you also see how the Queen is standing so that you can see a brightly lit statue behind her? This is the Victoria Memorial that also honours Queen Victoria.

This activity is adapted from the Visual Arts sections on portraits and on texture in What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

This activity has cross-curricular connections: click below to see related activities.

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