A Portrait of Britain 2017

UK £5 Silver Proof Four-Coin Collection

Portrait of Britain

Discover the Portrait of Britain Collection

The Portrait of Britain collection, now in its third year, celebrates the best of Britain’s iconic landmarks and landscapes. Since the first collection, featuring London’s landmarks in 2015, Royal Mint coin designers Glyn Davies and Laura Clancy have travelled to each individual location to carry out detailed observations and gain a personal insight into every setting.

Their designs aim to capture the awe of a visitor standing before these iconic buildings and experiencing the inspirational views for the first time.

The 2017 Coins

A Story in Every Stone

Britain’s greatest residences are the physical embodiment of centuries of history. They serve as the past and present homes of kings and queens, lords and ladies and the leaders who influence our heritage. From 10 Downing Street to Edinburgh Castle, and from Hampton Court Palace to Westminster Abbey, each stone has a tale to tell, bearing witness to the lives of those who walked their halls and shaped our country.

The 2016 Coins

Forged by Nature, Shaped by Myth

From the highest mountain peaks to the most dramatic coastlines, The British Isles’ magnificent landscapes attract thousands of visitors each year. Snowdonia, the Giant’s Causeway, the Lake District and the White Cliffs of Dover are renowned for their beauty but are also embedded in our history and steeped in myth; geological wonders that represent natural Britain at its best.

The 2015 Coins

Distinctive and Outstanding

The very first Portrait of Britain collection featured four London locations, instantly recognisable to tourists from around the world. Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge are an imposing part of the city’s familiar landscape, dominating the skyline. Each one is rich in history, a symbol of outstanding design and engineering that has endured for centuries.

The Iconic Buildings of Britain

downing streetThe Door to Democracy

In the City of Westminster, behind large guarded gates, stands the 100-room headquarters of Her Majesty The Queen’s Government – 10 Downing Street. Known colloquially as ‘Number 10’, this heavily-guarded residence is more than 300 years old and has been home to the head of the government since the eighteenth century.

Originally three houses, Number 10 was offered to Sir Robert Walpole, the 1st Earl of Orford, by George II in 1732. Sir Walpole graciously accepted on the condition that the property would become the office of the First Lord of the Treasury. It has sculpted some of the most important moments in British history and hosted many noteworthy politicians behind its famous black front door – from Gladstone, Lloyd George and Churchill to Attlee, Thatcher and Tony Blair.

Edinburgh Castle

Ancient Seat of Kings

A historic fortress that dominates the Scottish capital’s skyline, Edinburgh Castle looks down at the city below from its Castle Rock. Archaeologists have traced the rock’s history back to the Iron Age (second century AD), although the early days of settlements at Castle Rock are shrouded in mystery. It is believed that Scottish monarchs have ruled from Castle Rock since the twelfth century and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633.

Today, the castle is Scotland’s most-visited paid tourist attraction, with 1.4 million people visiting every year. It is the location of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo during the annual Edinburgh International Festival and the fortress is now an iconic symbol of both Scotland and its capital.

Hampton courtCorridors of Power and Pleasure

Hampton Court Palace in Richmond upon Thames is one of only a few surviving palaces once belonging to Henry VIII. Originally redeveloped for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1515, the palace was seized by the king after Wolsey’s fall from grace. Since then, it has seen many makeovers, none more prominent than the work done by Sir Christopher Wren in the seventeenth century.

Today, the palace and its gardens are open to the public, where visitors can explore its celebrated maze, historic tennis court and the Great Vine. Visitors to Hampton Court Palace are greeted by the King’s Beasts – ten statues of heraldic animals that line the bridge over the moat before the great gatehouse, representing the ancestry of Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour.

Westminster AbbeyPraise and Pageantry

The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, more commonly known as Westminster Abbey, is a prominent abbey church found near the Thames in the City of Westminster, London. Westminster Abbey is one of the United Kingdom’s most notable religious buildings and is the traditional place of coronations and burial sites for British monarchs. The site has been the coronation church since 1066, but the present building began construction in 1245 under order of Henry III.

Despite being known as an abbey, and previously categorised as a cathedral during the sixteenth century, the building is actually neither. Since 1560, it has had the status of a Church of England ‘Royal Peculiar’ – a church responsible directly to the sovereign. In recent years, Westminster Abbey was host to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, as well as playing home for the wedding of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Each Portrait of Britain coin set has been created by Royal Mint coin designers Laura Clancy and Glyn Davies. Their varied backgrounds in graphic design has helped them deal with the challenges presented by each setting.

Laura studied three-dimensional crafts at the University of Brighton and has previously taught art and metalwork. She has worked for The Royal Mint for 11 years and her projects include the Royal Air Force, the First World War and The Salvation Army.

Glyn previously worked as an animator before gaining his Master’s Degree in Post Production at Bournemouth University. He has worked in video editing and as a motion graphic designer and designed a commemorative coin for the Central Bank of Jordan, marking the 100th anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt.

Each design in the 2017 collection presented its own challenges.

"Downing Street was one of the most difficult views to capture. We looked at producing a street view but if the famous door was not prominent then it was not distinctive enough. The door had to be the focus."

Laura Clancy

"Edinburgh castle also posed a challenge because of the difficulty of showing the castle in the context of the huge rock that it sits upon, right in the middle of the city. The rock dominates the skyline from wherever you stand in Edinburgh but by the time you see the castle clearly you’re inside it and can’t see the dramatic location – it was about balancing the two aspects."

Glyn Davies

downing street coin

 

Edinburgh Castle

Laura studied three-dimensional crafts at the University of Brighton and has previously taught art and metalwork. She has worked for The Royal Mint for 11 years and her projects include the Royal Air Force, the First World War and The Salvation Army.

Glyn previously worked as an animator before gaining his Master’s Degree in Post Production at Bournemouth University. He has worked in video editing and as a motion graphic designer and designed a commemorative coin for the Central Bank of Jordan, marking the 100th anniversary of the Great Arab Revolt.

Each design in the 2017 collection presented its own challenges.

downing street coin

"Downing Street was one of the most difficult views to capture. We looked at producing a street view but if the famous door was not prominent then it was not distinctive enough. The door had to be the focus."

Laura Clancy

Edinburgh Castle

"Edinburgh castle also posed a challenge because of the difficulty of showing the castle in the context of the huge rock that it sits upon, right in the middle of the city. The rock dominates the skyline from wherever you stand in Edinburgh but by the time you see the castle clearly you’re inside it and can’t see the dramatic location – it was about balancing the two aspects."

Glyn Davies

Creating the Coins

The two designers begin the design process by visiting each location and taking photographs, aiming to capture the landmarks at different times of the day, with different lighting conditions.

They then sketch layouts before deciding on the finished design. Finally, they add the colour, sometimes using a palette direct from the visit, sometimes adding different colours to give a sense of mood and atmosphere.

They approach the modelling of the designs in different ways.

Glyn works in the more traditional way, building a model in malleable clay and refining the detail in plaster before adding the final touches with computer-aided design.

Laura models on the computer, firstly building up the big shapes and composition, then using details from the drawings and photographs to add texture to each design.

The Finished Coins

Once the coins have been struck, the colour can be added. The process gives the designs an almost ‘impressionist’ feel, reflecting the shifting light and colour of the landmarks and landscapes at the time Glyn and Laura made their visits.

"The most difficult thing for the 2017 collection was getting the colour right for 10 Downing Street. Black is a combination of colours, not a pure colour, and we tried several combinations to get the right balance in our colour plans before testing it on the coin to see the finished effect."

Glyn Davies

designs

They approach the modelling of the designs in different ways.

Glyn works in the more traditional way, building a model in malleable clay and refining the detail in plaster before adding the final touches with computer-aided design.

Laura models on the computer, firstly building up the big shapes and composition, then using details from the drawings and photographs to add texture to each design.

designs

The Finished Coins

Once the coins have been struck, the colour can be added. The process gives the designs an almost ‘impressionist’ feel, reflecting the shifting light and colour of the landmarks and landscapes at the time Glyn and Laura made their visits.

"The most difficult thing for the 2017 collection was getting the colour right for 10 Downing Street. Black is a combination of colours, not a pure colour, and we tried several combinations to get the right balance in our colour plans before testing it on the coin to see the finished effect."

Glyn Davies

coins

 

A Portrait of Britain 2017

UK £5 Silver Proof Four-Coin Collection

 

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