Painting the Coronation

Inna's painting of Duke of York Square

As part of their Coronation celebrations, the Cadogan Estate got in touch and asked if some of our landscape painters would like to capture the day on the King’s Road and around Duke of York Square. Painting the Coronation celebrations was an opportunity not to be missed, although the weather could have been better…

Painting the Coronation.

Written by student Inna

When we received an invitation to paint on Kings Road on Coronation Day, we were excited and grateful for this wonderful opportunity. Our landscape group, led by Ann Witheridge and Charlotte Partridge, even ventured out to paint Kings Road from Sloan Square a couple of days prior to the event.

Despite the less-than-ideal weather conditions for painting, with showers throughout the day, many of us decided to brave the elements and unleash our creativity (although maybe slightly jealous of those enjoying the celebrations dry and warm at home).

Close up of Inna's painting
Close up of Inna’s painting

Our primary objective was to capture the celebratory atmosphere around the landmarks. It was a truly beautiful day when the nation came together on this joyous occasion. Spirits were high, warmth filled the air, and our paintings received ample attention and numerous compliments. The contrasting weather conditions of bright sky and rain created a unique blend of colours and blurred the lines between people and surroundings, resulting in striking combinations dominated by ochre and blue hues. Interestingly, our works were even compared to the masterpieces of Turner, which was an incredibly flattering moment. Although, upon reflection, we realised that the unintentional smudges and warm ochre tones indeed bore a resemblance to his style.

Another delightful aspect of painting on this auspicious day was the enthusiastic and engaged response from the public. While we always attract some attention when painting urban scenes, the level of interest we garnered on Coronation Day surpassed all previous experiences. People were genuinely excited to see this beautiful day immortalized on canvas. Personally, I was approached numerous times, with requests to include individuals in my painting. One particularly heartwarming moment occurred when a lovely family with three adorable children asked me to incorporate them into the scene. Their excitement was infectious, and I gladly obliged. You can now spot them near the burgundy umbrella on the right-hand side of my artwork.

Inna painting in the rain
Helena and Liz painting in the rain

During this experience, we also observed an interesting phenomenon. When people request to be included in an urban painting or sketch, they often have expectations akin to a photograph— posing as they would for a camera. However, the nature of painting doesn’t always lend itself to capturing precise likenesses. As Ann astutely noted, we’ve become quite skilled at explaining to people which “blob of paint” represents each of them.

Moreover, our paintings stand as a vibrant reminder of the jubilant occasion and festive atmosphere on Coronation Day. The vivid colours and intricate details bring to life the sights and sounds that filled Duke of York Square, evoking a sense of nostalgia and warmth, the laughter, the cheers, and the shared sense of pride.