Artwork of the Month - June 2016

William_Scott__Coronation_with_Horses__1953.jpg
Coronation with Horses, 1953 (detail)

Coronation with Horses
1953
Gouache on paper
57.2 x 518.2 cm / 22 ½ x 204 in
Private collection

In June 1953, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation ceremony took place at Westminster Abbey in London. In preparation for this momentous event, the department store D.H. Evans commissioned Scott to produce a commemorative poster to adorn the side of 500 buses which ran on the routes to and from D.H. Evans’ Oxford Street store. The poster, which is over five metres long, shows the State Coach carrying the newly crowned Queen in procession down the Mall. Scott might have used a photograph of the 1937 Coronation of King George VI as a starting point for a print of that occasion was found amongst his papers.

In line with Scott’s work of this period, the imagery is pared back to simple silhouetted forms, although these are enlivened by bold colours such as vivid pink and vibrant yellow. The commission came through the advertising agency Colman Prentis and Varley (CPV); a statement dated 22 April from the company relates to a payment for a ‘colour drawing for Poster and Bus Advertising.’ How the commission came about is not known for sure but Scott had connections within the agency. He knew not only one of the directors, Colonel Arthur Varley (who owned the lease on Scott’s studio at 3 Radnor Walk, SW3) but his old friend Arpad Elfer was the agency’s art director (Arpad Elfer probably commissioned various projects to celebrate the Coronation as he acquired the sculptures made at that time by the Catalan artist Juan Rebull for the window display at Dickins & Jones in Regent Street).