Since 1837, Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of the British monarch. Today, it is the administrative headquarters of the British monarchy, as well as acting as a hub for national and royal celebrations.
George III bought Buckingham House, as it was then known, in 1761 for his wife Queen Charlotte. Regarded as a comfortable family home close to St James’s Palace, Buckingham House was the location for the birth of all but one of George III’s and Queen Charlotte’s 15 children. The building underwent various reconstructions over the ensuing decades as it was transformed from a house into a palace, and Queen Victoria became the first British monarch to rule from Buckingham Palace when she took up residence there in July 1837.
Today, the Palace is very much a working building, playing host to royal events attended by more than 50,000 guests each year, including Heads of State from around the world. The Palace boasts 775 rooms, including 19 State Rooms that are used by the Royal Family for official entertaining and are open to visitors every summer.
A Majestic Design
With several coin designs to his name, including those celebrating Alexander Graham Bell and The Who, artist Henry Gray has created a regal design for this coin in which Buckingham Palace serves as the centrepiece.
The artist has skilfully depicted the majesty of such a grand building on the reverse of a £5 coin. A pattern inspired by a feature of the Palace’s interior encircles the portrait of the building itself, which proudly flies the Royal Standard indicating the presence of the British monarch.
“Buckingham Palace is one of Britain’s most well-known and iconic buildings; inside and out it is enveloped with complex and intricate ornament. I needed to retain some of the essential detail that communicates Buckingham Palace’s architectural narrative whilst rendering it convincingly and recognisably at numismatic scale.
“I was spoilt for choice; such is the density of ornament on display. After trialling multiple options, featuring both interior and exterior details, the pattern on the balustrade from the Grand Staircase was the most successful for the outside of the coin. The iconic frontal elevation of the Palace is the only view that truly communicates the building with gravitas.”
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