Artist to give queen painting of visit -- by royal appointment
QUEEN Elizabeth accepted a gift of a canvas depicting her historic visit to Ireland after reading an article about the artist concerned in the Irish Independent.
Clare-based painter Michael Hanrahan will visit Buckingham Palace on August 8, bringing with him the oil painting of the queen and President Mary McAleese at the Garden of Remembrance during the first visit by a British monarch to the Republic. Buckingham Palace officials contacted Hanrahan yesterday to inform him of the date they would accept the picture.
Art auctioneer Ian Whyte, who has had the painting on display for two weeks at his auction rooms in Dublin, said the fact that the queen had agreed to accept the artist's painting was "significant".
"The protocol is that the queen has to agree to accept a gift before any gift can be made. That Buckingham Palace has officially written to accept this painting is significant, and I'm sure confirms that Queen Elizabeth very much enjoyed her stay in Ireland," Mr Whyte told the Irish Independent.
And in an earlier letter from the queen's deputy private secretary, Edward Young, to Hanrahan on June 22, Buckingham Palace also acknowledged receipt of an Irish Independent article about the artist.
"I am going to end up as one of the few living Irish artists whose work is represented in the British Royal Collection, which is the stuff of dreams for me. This has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Hanrahan.
The royal connection has sparked interest in seven oil canvases painted by the former bank manager of Queen Elizabeth's visit to Ireland, and which go under the hammer at Whyte's Auctioneers on October 10.
Each is expected to be sold for several thousand euro.
Hanrahan was working as an art teacher on a Cunard World Cruise earlier this year when he first learned of the queen's planned visit.
"I had to wait until we docked in the next port before I could contact anyone.
"I was in Barcelona on April 15 when I posted a letter to the British Ambassador to Ireland, Julian King, and requested his permission to paint the visit. I explained to him that this was such a historic occasion, it needed to be recorded on canvas," said Hanrahan.