In this signed screen print, Andy Warhol has applied his signature medium to the subject of sitting monarch Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. In the bright image, he has reduced the colour palette to a magenta background with yellow jewelry and blue eyes and sash. Using these bright, flattening colours, Warhol has taken a ubiquitous image – found on stamps, money, and in government buildings across her kingdom – and added whimsy to make something new. Warhol adapted the official portrait released for Queen Elizabeth’s silver jubilee in 1977 to create this screen print.
This small edition of 40 is one of four images of Queen Elizabeth II in the larger series Reining Queens. Warhol produced Reigning Queens in 1985. He selected four reigning monarchs, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, and Queen Ntombi Twala of Swaziland in addition to Queen Elizabeth II as the subjects of the series of 16 editions. The series comprises some of his largest in size. A Royal Edition of the series incorporates diamond dust to give a sparkly effect.