Diamond Jubilee Pageant captured by artists at Battersea Park exhibition


The show at the Pump House Gallery is proving popular with visitors.


By Felicity Capon

Fifty works of art commemorating last year’s Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, including a piece by David Hockney, have gone on display together for the first time.

The Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park is hosting the exhibition as part of this year’s Mayor’s Thames Festival. It features leading artists Adam Dant, Chris Orr RA, Peter Kent, Timothy Hayman RA and Susan Wilson.

A piece by David Hockney, titled The End of the Regatta, is a highlight of the exhibition. Hockney created the piece on his iPad while he watched the flotilla and it is the first image he has made of the Queen. A printed copy has been added to the Queen’s Royal collection, which includes pieces dating from the sixteenth century.

The fifty pieces are certainly diverse, with paintings, drawings, photography, embroidery, collage and installation all included. One piece by Michael Coldman, entitled Thames Flotilla, makes use of an extraordinary assortment of small everyday objects, such as sardine tins, mini porcelain bath tubs and spoons.

According to the exhibition’s curator, Mary Millner, the gallery has been visited by terrific numbers.  

“People loved the Pageant and they want to see and hear lots about it. It is the role of artists to capture this historic occasion and it is wonderful that there are such a varied group of artists presented,” she said.

Many of the artists braved the pouring rain on the day of the Pageant in order to sketch and draw the flotilla as it passed. One work, by artist Max Naylor, has water marks on it from the rain.

“The procession of boats was quite an extraordinary thing to draw, particularly as I’m very interested in movement,” he said.

“It was a bit of a sensory overload, and quite a challenge.”

Close to a million people turned out to watch the Pageant, which was the biggest spectacle ever held on the river, and the exhibition is an opportunity for viewers to relive their memories of the event.

Frank Harding, from Doncaster, remembers it as being ‘very wet and very cold’, but a magnificent spectacle.

“I wouldn’t have missed it for anything,” he said.

Ray Jones, from Whitstable, made a two-hour journey to London to visit her son, but said she would have made the journey solely to see the exhibition:

“It’s wonderful. Simply wonderful – I loved the variety,” she said.

The exhibition runs until September 15th and is free of charge. It is part of a series of events and installations that are being run as part of the Mayor’s Thames Festival.

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