The new Queen’s head: a redrawn portrait for British coins has been announced

Learn how the new portrait was created – and see how The Queen's portrait has changed over the years.

The Royal Mint has announced a new portrait of The Queen that will appear on British coins from later this year.

This is the fifth portrait to be created since the first coin bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s face in 1953. This ‘Queen’s head' was drawn and designed by Jody Clark, an engraver at the Royal Mint. He won an competition to create the portrait – these competitions are oen only to those invited by the Mint, but entered anonymously.

Jody’s artwork is the first to be produced in-part digitally. From Jody’s original pencil sketch, he worked up the artwork in Photoshop, using a Wacom tablet – as you can see here.

This artwork was the first also to use the Internet for reference materials, which help Jody produce this inital sketch.

"Although we were given photographs of Queen Elizabeth’s profile, I researched images online,” says Jody, "something that past engravers would not have had the luxury of doing, which also helped me to decide what regalia I would include.

"I chose the Royal Diamond Diadem. I think it’s the most familiar and I wanted to make some clear distinctions between the portrait by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, as Her Majesty really hasn’t aged too much in the years since. The Diamond Diadem was worn by The Queen to her Coronation and was featured in the portraits designed by Raphael Maklouf and Arnold Machin, so it’s a real nod to the past.”

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A plaster version of the design, which are produced to test the design before minting.

Production of the coins begins today. They will enter circulation later this year.

Born in 1981, Jody studied illustration at the University of Central Lancashire. He’s previously designed medals for the Ryder Cup and Nato Summit in 2014.

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The history of The Queen’s head

Jody’s portrait of The Queen replaces 1998’s by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley. Previously the portraits were by Raphael Maklouf (from 1985), Arnold Machin (from decimalisation in 1968) and Mary Gillick (released in 1953, the year after Elizabeth ascended the throne.

Here you can see plaster effigies of the four designs. Read on to learn more about their design.

Following her corination in 1952, this first portrait of Queen Elizabeth II for coin was created by sculptor Mary Gillick. Unlike later portraits, it's not designed to be a realstic likeness of Elizabeth – but instead presents an idealised version of her. It also uses a laurel wreath rather than a crown.

Sculptor Arnold Machin's portrait was more realistic, and was based on two sittings. This design accompanied decimalisation in the UK in 1968 – where the archaic, chaotic system of money was replaced with a more metric approach.

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This portrait by Jerusalem-born Raphael Maklouf appeared in 1985. It's more formal than previous designs – perhaps an acknowledgement of The Queen being middle-aged – and more similar to the portraits that followed.

Surrey-born sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley says about his design for coins produced since 1998, “it was essential to the integrity of the project for the portrait to be a recognisable one, and not over-idealised.”

A plaster version of the 2015 design by Jody Clark, which are produced to test the design before minting.

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