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New Military Coins from The Royal Mint
ENGRAVED IN HISTORY
New Military Coins from The Royal Mint
ENGRAVED IN HISTORY

Meet the Maker: P. J. Lynch

Meet the Maker

P. J. Lynch is an artist and illustrator who was also Laureate na nÓg, Ireland’s laureate for children’s literature, from 2016 to 2018. He has created several coin designs for The Royal Mint, including a Britannia coin, coins for the ‘alphabet’ 10p coin series, and a design for our Lunar coin collection. We spoke to the artist about his approach to the designs celebrating The Queen’s Reign Collection, a reflection upon Her Majesty’s extraordinary reign in her Platinum Jubilee year.

Meet the Maker

The first thing P. J. tells us is that from the very start, there was to be no portrait on the coin’s reverse:

“The brief was clear, so it was all about looking at how else to represent The Queen. I began thinking about how her hands are such an important thing – she is always shaking hands, using them to carry out symbolic tasks like presenting awards, planting trees or unveiling plaques. It is how she communicates with hundreds, if not thousands, of people at once.”

For P. J., it was all about refining the idea:

“Good design is always pared back so that you get to the crux of the subject; it is all about cutting out anything that is not necessary. The design developed through lots of iterations. I was working on an idea with The Queen’s hand signing a charter when, the more I looked at it, the signature was what was most important. I could see that if I focused on that, everything else could be simpler.”

Her Majesty The Queen’s signature is iconic in itself, as P. J. explains:

“… it is iconic, yet understated: Elizabeth R. Nothing else is needed to explain who that is, it stands for so much on its own.”

With this collection, we wanted to celebrate some of The Queen’s contributions to society that have never been celebrated on coins: her contribution to the Commonwealth, her devotion to charities and community, and her awards and honours. Once P. J. had the overarching concept fully in mind, it was time to consider how to represent the three areas of the coin series, one on each coin:

“I will be honest and say it was tough, because they are quite abstract concepts. The Commonwealth, for example, how do you sum that up, encapsulate it? I decided to stay with a simple approach and to aim for a representation rather than try to include everything, which would have been impossible. Thus, I added a selection of Commonwealth flags, a number of awards and honours, and used the beautiful Maundy coins to symbolise her very personal approach to charity.”

Once they had been selected, P. J. worked with The Royal Mint’s Product Design team to finalise his designs. As he says himself, he could draw on their expertise and is very pleased with the finished result:

“I am really happy with the simplification and that the signature is so big and important. It is fantastic to see the final result – when paper images have become digital images and then a coin that you can move in the light. That’s what is so special, the little details that catch the light bring it to life. With a coin, I think an artist can see their work in an almost immortal fashion. Books can last hundreds of years, but there are coins that are thousands of years old. They tell so much about an era.”

 

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