Escofet said: “I thought about it for about two seconds and said yes! These opportunities come along once in a lifetime. There was some trepidation, I must say – you’re treading in strange waters but I love a challenge. We were both in tune – we wanted to show a more intimate side to her and capture her humanity, the person.”
The first half-hour sitting with the Queen took place in July 2019 at Windsor Castle, with a second sitting taking place in February this year at Buckingham Palace, which was focused on facial expressions.
Overall, the painting process took seven months, starting in October, and Escofet has fond memories of her audience with the Queen: “I had complete creative freedom, which was great. They treat the sittings as very much a private encounter, which is lovely. I had this completely natural exchange with her – or as natural as it’s ever going to be anyway! The only caveat is that you’re not really supposed to say what was said between you. There was a lot of preparation time, so I was allowed to view and prepare the room before.
“She struck me as a very grounded, real person”.