Ian Rank-Broadley Engraver of Queen Elizabeth II Fourth Portrait

Author: Adam Hopkin - Numismatic Editor

Published: 9 Jan 2020

Last Updated: 27 Dec 2022


Eventually going on to produce various royal portraits for commemorative coinage, Ian Rank Broadley's fourth iteration of Queen Elizabeth II appears on all circulated UK coins between 1998 and 2015.

2010 Gold Sovereign Queen Elizabeth

Education in Engraving 

British School at Rome Ian Rank Broadley Queen Elizabeth II Fourth Portrait

Carving Out A Career 

Born in 1952, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, Ian Rank-Broadley pursued an education that would nurture his creative intuition, first studying at the Epsom School of Art before progressing onto the Slade School of Fine Art, graduating in 1976 having been awarded the Biose Travelling Scholarship, subsequently leading the celebrated engraver to conclude his studies at the British School at Rome. Perhaps most impressive about Ian's work throughout the infancy of his career, the engraver was endowed with the Major Award in Sculpture from the British Institution Fund for the Royal Academy of Arts in London.  

Pocket Sized Portraits

Often hailed as one of the most widely recognisable designs of modern coinage, the fourth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was introduced in 1998 after a fiercely competitive selection process took place the year before. Whilst this selection was to initially see the winner design the obverse the upcoming 1997 wedding crown, due to the immaculate standards of so many entries it was decided the chosen engraving would become the new standard portrait on all circulating coinage. Once Rank-Broadley attained the commission he would go on to create the first new effigy of Queen Elizabeth since Raphael Maklouf's work in 1985

The Fourth Portrait

Taking inspiration from celebrated engravers of the past such as Benedetto Pistrucci, Ian wanted the portrait to occupy more of the coin's obverse field, consequently giving the regal depiction the impression of increased definition and a bold quality. Whilst the design took cues from historical artists there was an immediate contrast with the portrait's predecessor, with Ian taking a far more "realistic" approach to his envisionment of the royal figure saying that there was "no need to disguise the matureness of the Queen's years. There is no need to flatter her. She is a 70-year-old woman with poise and bearing." A detail that is consistent with those before it is the lack of a crown on the Queen’s head, whilst this may cause initial confusion for those unable to distinguish between royal heirlooms, Elizabeth II is in fact adorning the "Girls of Great Britain Tiara" gifted to her majesty as a wedding present Queen Mary.  

Elizabeth II Fourth Portrait Gold Bullion Sovereign Ian Rank Broadley

Award Winning Works 

Perhaps unsurprisingly for an artist with such a celebrated catalogue of workings, but Rank-Broadley isn't without his awards, with the earliest coming during his tuition.

Armed Forces Memorial Statues Ian Rank Broadley

Celebrated Sculptor, Renowned Creative 

Many of the pieces Ian has produced has received an outstanding critical reception, so much so that by 1998 he had become a Brother of the Workers Art Guild, a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. 

Royal Commissions 

Turning his hand from coinage to sculptures, portraits, to medals and reliefs, Ian's ability to capture human qualities within material hasn't gone unnoticed, especially with coinage, with the sculptor being no stranger to royal commissions.

 Many Faces Of Coinage 

The silver diamond jubilee £5 coin saw Broadley create two new portraits, the first being a contemporary depiction of Elizabeth II in her Garter Robes and the second paying homage to Mary Gillick's youthful portrait of the Queen. The golden jubilee crown however, offers an equestrian design inspired by a life sized sculpture of Her Majesty. Taking inspiration from the seals of Queen Victoria, the diamond jubilee silver 5oz coin features Queen Elizabeth II enthroned, adorning her robes and crown, with a wreath encompassing the Queen's head. 

2002 Golden Jubilee Silver Crown

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