Mary Gillick Jubilee exhibition at the British Museum

Hosted by:
British Museum
2 June 2022
British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG, United Kingdom
Open to public?
Open to public, advance booking/ticket required
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British Museum
Asahi Shimbun Displays, Room 3
2nd June – 31st July 2022

This exhibition presents the life and work of the sculptor Mary Gillick (1881-1965), who enjoyed a burst of fame when, in her seventies, she was invited to model the Queen’s head for the 1953 UK coinage. Mary Gillick’s portraits of HM The Queen continued to appear on the coinage until decimilisation. Gillick worked on the portrait between March and October 1952, with one sitting and close supervision by the Duke of Edinburgh. A cameo of Gillick’s portrait of the Queen has been used on British commemorative stamps since 1966 and the original still appears on the Maundy money given out by the Queen each Easter.

The exhibition will celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of the coronation, and enable the Museum to focus on an important but little known female artist. It follows Gillick’s career, from her training at the Royal College of Art, where she discovered Renaissance medals, through her specialisation in medallic art, to her 1953 success and beyond. A highlight of the exhibition will be items presented to the British Museum by the artist’s family in 2005, which included medals created by Gillick from the 1910s to the 1950s, related dies, punches and plaster models, a set of large-scale plaster models of her portrait of the Queen, and documents relating to the new coins.