King George VI with George Cross recipients
Woven nametapes with dressmaker pins on canvas, 88 x 72 cm.
In 1940 King George VI created the George Cross, a new award for civilians to be recognised 'for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger'. Many acts of bravery by men women and children include bomb disposal, fire and mountain rescue, shark rescue, self-sacrifice, foiled assassination, and a 13-year-old schoolboy who stopped a run away bull. The first George Cross was awarded to Thomas Hopper Alderson on 30th September 1940 for blitz rescue, and more recently in 2013 to Dominic Troulan for saving life in Kenya. Margaret Vaughan (now Mrs Purves) is one of 18 current living recipients of the George Cross; Vaughan gained her award in 1949 for a tidal rescue off Sully Island. The awards to Malta and the RUC are in perpetuity.
The portrait includes an archival Benson & Clegg white label with the words BY APPT. TO THE LATE KING GEORGE VI. In 1944 Benson & Clegg were granted the Royal Warrant to His Majesty serving as official royal tailors and supplying formal wear such as the double-breasted jacket. The wide lapels and flattering v-shaped silhouette are reproduced using the bespoke navy blue Benson & Clegg label. The pinning process and assemblage of the label creates movement across the garment adding an unexpected 3D effect.
Colourful medal ribbons have been carefully selected from used clothing labels, previously removed from the neck of rag garments, the reverse weave provides additional texture reflecting medal ribbon bar patterns and thread. The use of simple white nametapes has resulted in a contemporary digital likeness which seeks to capture the legacy of King George VI, not only in his desire to reward such acts of historic bravery, but also to recognise the influence his values have on us today.
The Window Exhibition will run from 1st June - 29th June 2018 at Benson & Clegg, 9 Piccadilly Arcade, Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6NH. The portrait marks the 65th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.
Limited Edition giclee print available with proceeds to The George Cross Association.
Click image to enlarge.
Work in progress:-