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UCLan graduate designs new coin portrait of the Queen

10 March 2015

Lyndsey Boardman

Former illustration student Jody is first Royal Mint engraver to create final royal coinage portrait in more than 100 years

 

A graduate from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is the designer behind the new coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen that will soon be a familiar sight on UK coins.

Jody Clark, who graduated from the University in 2004 with a degree in illustration, has designed only the fifth definitive coin portrait to have been created during the Queen's 63-year reign and is the youngest of the five designers to do so. Working for the Royal Mint, he is also the first engraver from the institution to create a definitive royal coinage portrait in more than 100 years.

A number of specialist designers from across Britain were invited to submit their own interpretations of the Queen’s portrait under anonymous cover, and each one was judged on its merits and suitability before the winning artwork was recommended to the Chancellor and, ultimately, The Queen for approval.

"The news that my design had been chosen was quite overwhelming, and I still can't quite believe that my royal portrait will be featured on millions of coins, playing a small part in the Royal Mint's 1,000-year history.”

Jody said: "I really liked the four previous coin portraits - each one is strong in its own way. I hope that I've done Her Majesty justice and captured her as I intended, in a fitting representation. The news that my design had been chosen was quite overwhelming, and I still can't quite believe that my royal portrait will be featured on millions of coins, playing a small part in the Royal Mint's 1,000-year history.”

The portrait shows a side profile of the Queen wearing a crown and drop earrings. Jody used a combination of traditional tooling methods and modern design software to create his own look and design.

He said: “At first I did loads of little thumbnail images to work out the layout, and played around with putting together different crowns, elements, jewellery and silhouettes to see which looked best. Then I picked one and hand sketched it out before working it up using reference imagery.

“The crown I have included is known as the Royal Diamond Diadem, which The Queen is known to wear to Parliament and official state engagements. It is also the crown which Raphael Maklouf used in his royal portrait. The drop earrings are real earrings which she is often photographed wearing with the diadem. I originally included a necklace to balance off the crown, but was advised to try the design without it so I went for a sweeping neckline instead and think that improves it.”

“I have fond memories of my time at UCLan because I met some of my best friends there and the course helped with broadening my horizons in respect of where my career could go after that."

Chief engraver at the Royal Mint Gordon Summers described the task as "probably one of the most difficult things for any artist or sculptor to do.”

Jody, who is originally from the Lake District, spoke of his studies in Preston: “I have fond memories of my time at UCLan because I met some of my best friends there and the course helped with broadening my horizons in respect of where my career could go after that. One particular lecturer was very inspiring to me; he was a massive help to my friends and I on my course, and that was illustrator Kevin Hauff.”

Former UCLan Illustration lecturer Kevin said: “I remember Jody being one of the more quietly dedicated students who had a methodical and considered approach to creating his artwork. He had a passion for the subject, always worked hard, met deadlines and so was a pleasure to share the teaching time with at UCLan. I am absolutely delighted his work has been chosen for the next Royal Mint portrait of the Queen. It is a truly well-deserved success.”

Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said the judging panel's decision was "pretty unanimous" and added that this latest portrait is "astonishingly significant". He said it had "a good likeness and a dignified likeness".

Jody’s design is only the fifth definitive portrait of The Queen to appear on our circulating coins since her accession to the throne in 1952, making it a very rare event indeed. When it appears in our change later this year, it will become the fourth portrait currently in circulation, joining those created in 1968, 1985 and 1998; together, the coins that carry them tell the story of Her Majesty’s lifetime and paint a compelling picture of the story of her reign.

Talking about what it feels like to have his work is everyone’s pockets, the 34-year-old added: “I think it is definitely a conversation starter. There is going to be a competition with my colleagues to see who can be the first to find one in general circulation. That will be the best bit for me, seeing my design on a circulating coin which is a bit battered and knowing that it’s been on a journey.”

Jody joined the Royal Mint in 2012 and is part of an in-house team of skilled engravers. He designs and makes models for medals and both UK and international commemorative and circulating coins and has worked on commissions for Costa Rica, Tanzania, Lesotho and Azerbaijan.

Most recently Jody has been chosen to design the commemorative 2014 proof Britannia (which was struck on the smallest coin ever manufactured by The Royal Mint – the fortieth ounce), 2014 Ryder Cup medals and the new Tanzania 500 shilling coin.