Portrait of royalty, and not the Hollywood variety

princess m by Annigoni


cecil beatonPortrait of Princess Margaret in front of the portrait by Annigoni, by Cecil Beaton

Last year Viscount Linley surprised everyone by buying back an Annigoni portrait of his mother, Princess Margaret, from a sale of family heirlooms…

While the painting was being copied, various sections were magnified, revealing previously unseen artistic flourishes by Annigoni, including inscriptions on leaves, a heart hanging in a glass on a branch and a tiny self-portrait.

The heart in a glass is thought to represent Princess Margaret’s heartbreak over Group Captain Peter Townsend; her wedding to Townsend was called off in 1955 and she sat for the Annigoni portrait in 1957. She married Linley’s father Antony Armstrong-Jones, now Lord Snowdon, in 1960.

The company copying the painting, Family Copies, drew the attention of Christie’s to the significant details. It is thought Linley, who is now chairman of Christie’s, bought back the painting as he considered the extra details made it sentimentally too valuable to risk it leaving the country.

via Linley’s U-turn – why he bought back Margaret’s portrait | Daily Mail Online.

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    • October 19, 2014

      How delightful! Thank you!

  1. October 18, 2014

    Reblogged this on tiaras and trianon and commented:
    Viscount Linley buys back an unconventional portrait of his mom, Princess Margaret.

  2. October 18, 2014

    Fabulous! You know the better known pictures of Mike, the black and whites including the one someone put up on wikipedia were taken by Snowdon 🙂
    And wasn’t Annigoni just spectacular? There’s a NY artist who works very much in the same style, he does incredible compositions with animals- I’ve been trying to remember is name for weeks and I just can’t. Maybe alcoholic dementia isn’t a myth after all!

    • October 19, 2014

      Was the NY artist a student of Annigoni?

      • October 19, 2014

        I CAN’T REMEMBER!!!!!!!! His work is very Boucher. Storks, monkeys, elephants, Chinese vases. He’s got brown hair and a very New England look to him.
        I remember a painting is 25 to 50 (plus the other zeros), but the prints are cheap, like 100 and something.

  3. October 18, 2014

    I think it is a stunningly beautiful and moving portrait. The whole business about Group Captain Peter Townsend seems so sad and antiquated. Poor Princess Margaret.

    On a lighter note do you know the story of when Princess Margaret first saw Elizabeth Taylor 69 ct diamond? Well… darling make yourself a chocolate martini, get comfy and just listen.
    Her Royal Highness Princess Maragret took one look at it and said “That is the most vulgar thing I have ever seen.”
    Elizabeth smiled. “Would you like to try it on?”
    “Yes I would.” The Princess said rather dryly.
    Elizabeth slipped the million dollar sparkler off and handed it to HRH.
    The Princess put it on and held it up to catch the light.
    “Not so vulgar now, is it?” Said the queen of diamonds, Elizabeth Taylor.

    • October 19, 2014


    • October 19, 2014

      Nothing about the light of Elizabeth could ever be vulgar! That was very naughty of Princess Margaret, but then, she was…and also very beautiful.

  4. October 20, 2014

    Judging from the portrait, I deduce that Annigoni was a very kind man. The portrait is more beautiful than the princess. He also did a famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which can be seen here on my “Wall-O-Withnail” page: http://wall-o-withnail.blogspot.com/ – as it was part of a scene in my favorite movie “Withnail and I”.

    • October 21, 2014

      Actually, Princess Margaret had incredible spark. Between fashion, looks and jewellery she made an extraordinary impression- much as her sister still does today 😉
      Or for that matter look up Maya Swarovski, or Prince Yuri’s wife, or Carmen Mayrink Veiga. Especially Carmen! But I could write a long list of these quite fabulous women…

  5. April 25, 2016

    Maybe it’s because I watched Game of Thrones last night (royalty on the brain) but something about the eyes reminded me of Daenerys Stormborn at first glance. And Marcheline is right, the artist set her eyes slightly farther apart, made them softer, and gave the full brow a bit more of a peak and a lift. I’d hire him. 🙂

    • April 25, 2016

      I’ve never seen the show, and even I know who Daenerys is; the dragon lady who bathed a lot in the first season…
      Hope you are well, and the writing is going well too. xox, V

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