Author Topic: Raphael Maklouf did not design the third portrait of Queen Elizabeth II  (Read 1562 times)

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Offline eurocoin

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1985, a major milestone in the numismatic history of many countries. A new design is being introduced on the circulation coinage of the UK and that of many other countries. The person who designed this new portrait: Raphael David Maklouf, or at least so it always seemed. A few years ago, a prominent person in the minting industry told in a private conversation that the third portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II was not made by Raphael Maklouf at all but instead by a younger artist whose design was bought by Raphael Maklouf, and with which Maklouf eventually won the Royal Mint's design competition. For a long time a colleague and I have been wondering about this and been trying to find out who this artist was. Thanks to a fellow researcher, it has recently come to our attention that this person was Ian Rank-Broadley. This means that Ian Rank-Broadley designed 2 portraits of HM Queen Elizabeth II (both the third and the fourth). Mr Rank-Broadley has never made any mention of this so I assume he is under some kind of non-disclosure agreement. Till date many designs that are being used by Tower Mint have been made by outsiders and for me it remains to be seen if Raphael David Maklouf really is a coin designer, as he claims to be.

Offline <k>

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I'm sure I saw a photo of the Queen "sitting" for Maklouf, as he sketched her. I can't locate it now, though, but I also read about him making the visit.
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Offline Alan71

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Finding this difficult to believe considering the two portraits are so different.  Maklouf's is this idealised one that doesn't look that much like the Queen at any point in her life (and also younger than she would have looked in 1984).  Rank-Broadley's, on the other hand, is unmistakeably the Queen and she looks every day of her 71 years at that point.  I know part of that goes on what the Mint wanted at the time, but even so, could one person really have created two portraits that bear little resemblance to each other?

Offline <k>

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could one person really have created two portraits that bear little resemblance to each other?

I believe that any talented artist could. As you mentioned, the Royal Mint generally gives artists certain guidelines. Maybe the guidelines in 1998 were significantly different from those in 1985. Or maybe they were not. Apart from that, a person may age considerably over 13 years. Also, an artist's style changes. It does not stay the same, just as the musical style of rock bands generally evolves over the course of a decade or so.

So I do believe eurocoin's proposition is a possibility. Whether or not it is true, I do not know.

 
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 01:19:30 PM by <k> »
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Offline eurocoin

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Well, 2 people with a very good reputation in numismatics who do not know each other, have both said the same things and their stories match completely. I would think it very odd if this is wrong, also given the fact that both have never provided any information that later turned out to be incorrect.

These are the designs that Mr Maklouf sent in for the competition:



Design 16 was completely made by Ian Rank-Broadley. Everything that was added to design 16 (as in designs 17,18,19 and 20) was made by Raphael Maklouf. Designs 17,18,19 and 20 were all used on collectors coins of various islands but were not very successful. Later design 18 was introduced on the circulating coins of Gibraltar. The lettering on none of these designs was made by Raphael Maklouf either, this was made by Milner Connorton Gray.

Offline eurocoin

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Raphael Maklouf was some time ago asked to comment on these facts but did not do so. I think that too speaks for itself.

Offline Alan71

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But why wouldn't Ian Rank-Broadley have submitted the design himself?  Did he think Maklouf would have a better chance of winning?  Did he not want the attention?

I suppose the idea of buying or selling a design, I can get my head around.  The Royal Mint effectively buys the design from the designer anyway. It's a one-off payment isn't it?  The designer benefits from both the prize money and the recognition.  And I'm assuming Rank-Bradley was adequately compensated financially.

It might help explain why the design was only used for 13 years when the ones either side of it lasted 17 years each (with an 18th, shared year for the Rank-Broadley).  Perhaps he was partly behind the 1998 change: he was regretting the arrangement?  To keep him quiet, the Mint let him "win" the competition?

Offline eurocoin

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But why wouldn't Ian Rank-Broadley have submitted the design himself?  Did he think Maklouf would have a better chance of winning?  Did he not want the attention?

This was a closed design competition. Only invited artists could submit designs and, although no list of the invited artists seems to have been saved, I assume Rank-Broadley was not invited.


Offline <k>

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Throughout history, established artists have had trusted assistants. Sometimes they started an oil painting and an assistant finished various details. Or perhaps an artist asked an assistant to produce a painting in his style and then signed it, to make money. This is part of art history, I'm afraid.

I know of another numismatic artist who is known to have had an assistant, some of whose coin designs were credited to his boss! But my lips are sealed, and I will not answer any questions about the details of this. Suffice to say, it happens.  ;)
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Offline Alan71

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As I said earlier, I can believe it happens.  The whole closed competition thing smacks of favouritism.  I think designers get a bit of a raw deal anyway.  If the payments went on how many coins were struck with the image, or how many years it was used for, we might see less of this.  As it stands, a one-off payment in a closed competition just invites this to happen.

As I said, it's just the differences in the portraits themselves that made it hard to believe.  Until now, the impression I got was that Maklouf is an idealist and Rank-Broadley a realist.  I still think that the fourth portrait was the first to genuinely look like the Queen.  The previous three look nothing like her at any age.  The first looks like a young girl, the second a glamorous young woman,  and the third a woman looking amazingly good on her 58 years.  I don't see Elizabeth II in any of them.  The fourth portrait is so realistic that I'm surprised it was allowed.  As I've said before, it made the current Jody Clark portrait a bit unnecessary, a change for the sake of change.

Offline <k>

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The whole closed competition thing smacks of favouritism.

It has its advantages and disadvantages. Our current UK design series, the jigsaw series, is the result of an open competition. The competition was announced in late 2005. Probably every man and his dog sent an entry in, so you can imagine the time that took, and the new series was not issued until April 2008. IMO, it was a grave disappointment. Next time I would arrange a closed competition and suggest British landmarks: the Giants' Causeway, Edinburgh Castle, Stonehenge, etc. After 3 months, the Mint would be ready to strike.  :)
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