The Queen’s a work of art

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IOL Warhol AP These colorful Andy Warhol screenprints are based on a formal photograph of the queen wearing a tiara and necklace that was used during her Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has bought four portraits of herself by Andy Warhol.

The quartet of iconic screen prints by the pop artist have been purchased by the Royal Collection to mark the queen's Diamond Jubilee this year and will go on display in Windsor Castle later this year.

The portraits, each measuring one metre by 80 centimetres, were produced in 1985 as part of a series called 'Reigning Queens'.

The particular paintings are from the Royal Edition, which is sprinkled with "diamond dust", fine particles of cut or crushed glass which sparkle in the light like diamonds.

Royal librarian Jane Roberts described them as "huge, extremely colourful and very striking".

She added: "The Warhol prints of the queen are in many ways the most important popular image of the queen to be created by an artist print maker over the last few decades.

"What Andy Warhol did with print making was very new, and particularly in these images where he uses the same outlines and applies different colourways to it, which is something very personal to him. It's playing around with an image in a way which is entirely new.

"Warhol produced these prints in these different colourways with the intention that they should be seen together as a set, reacting off each other."

It is not known how much was paid for the prints, but a recent auction of a similar set fetched £109 250.

The exhibition at Windsor Castle will see the paintings sit alongside a selection of other official, commissioned and formal portraits of the queen from her six decades of rule. It will run until June 9 next year.

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