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Behind the Design with Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS

Categories: Collect

The dignified portrait of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh created for the memorial coin in his honour is the work of the respected sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS. The artist’s work has been struck on UK coins for many years and he has been regularly commissioned to create coin designs featuring members of the British Royal Family. Notable works include the 60th birthday portrait of The Prince of Wales, the fourth definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, and a co-joined portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to mark their 60th wedding anniversary. The commission to create a memorial coin design for The Duke of Edinburgh was made by The Royal Mint more than ten years ago and Ian Rank-Broadley created a portrait image in a three-quarter pose from a set of photographs. He was invited to Buckingham Palace to present these images to Prince Philip but they did not immediately meet with approval, as the artist recalls:

“When His Royal Highness saw the portrait, he said he wanted a profile portrait. As I had my sketch book and a camera with me, I suggested he sit for me so I could do some preparatory work straight away. When you get an opportunity like that you need to get as much information down as you can and very quickly.

The sitting took place in Prince Philip’s library and you could tell he was a widely read and thoughtful person, with recently read and purchased books all around. It was a great privilege to spend some time with him and, as with other members of the Royal Family, I found he was very generous with his time.”

Working from the images made in this one-to-one session with Prince Philip, the artist created some new designs and returned to the Palace to present his ideas. For many this would be a daunting prospect but not for Ian Rank-Broadley, who had visited the Palace and worked with the Royal Family on several occasions.

“He completely approved the revised profile portrait; he was very decisive in that way. I found he was matter of fact about what the design would eventually be used for.”

When asked to reflect on the approved memorial coin design, Ian Rank-Broadley said:

“I hope the design captures Prince Philip – an impressive, highly intelligent and humorous man.”


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