September 5, 2012 Kleinburg, ON –The McMichael Canadian Art Collection looks forward to the Queen’s arrival—in the royal photography exhibition, Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration. This year, Her Majesty the Queen celebrates sixty years as Head of State of the Commonwealth realms and the United Kingdom and to mark the occasion, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK has organized this exhibition of important portraits to tour internationally. It will be on display at the McMichael gallery from September 29, 2012 to January 13, 2013, with the official public opening celebration to take place on Sunday, October 14.

Works on display in A Diamond Jubilee Celebration include charming portraits of the teenage Princess Elizabeth with her parents and sister Princess Margaret, set against elaborate painted backdrops. Only a few years later, Princess Elizabeth had pledged her life to the service of the Commonwealth over international radio: “On my twenty-first birthday I welcome the opportunity to speak to all the peoples of the British Commonwealth and Empire, wherever they live, whatever race they come from, and whatever language they speak…I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great Imperial family to which we all belong.”

The photographs in the exhibition depict the Queen and the Royal Family on official occasions, as well as “off-duty” at home. Highly-staged and elegant settings are placed alongside charming and informal moments, capturing regal splendour as well as personal intimacy. The images are drawn exclusively from the Museum’s collection of photographs taken by royal photographer Sir Cecil Beaton and comprise vintage prints as well as new prints from Beaton’s original negatives. The photographs are augmented by Sir Cecil Beaton’s personal diary accounts, rich with details of many sittings. Also featured is the day of the Coronation in 1953, when Beaton’s camera captured both the grandeur and emotion of the newly-ascended monarch, Elizabeth II, crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon, Pakistan, and Canada, and taking the role of Head of the Commonwealth.

There are fifty-four nations in the Commonwealth. Through her important symbolic and unifying role, Queen Elizabeth II personally reinforces the links by which the Commonwealth joins people together from around the world. As members of the Commonwealth, Canada and those countries from which many in Canada have emigrated, share common values and goals: the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace. The exhibition pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in honour of this special relationship.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 128-page hardcover book published by the Victoria and Albert Museum. With 100 photographs, Queen Elizabeth II, Portraits by Cecil Beaton is a celebration of Beaton, the enduring flair of his portraits, and the myriad sources of inspiration that resulted in photographs so powerful that they moulded the world’s perception of a princess, monarch and mother. The book is available for purchase for CDN$67.00 at the McMichael Gallery Shop or online (905.893.1121 or toll free 1.888.213.1121, ext. 2237, or

Special Events at the McMichael Celebrating Queen Elizabeth II


Sunday, October 14, 2:00 p.m.

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration

Visit the gallery on Sunday for the public opening of Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration that acknowledges the Crown’s unique relationship with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. A smudging ceremony will be followed by an interactive family audience performance of Eagle Thunder, The Story of Hope by Tsimshian Elder and artist Shannon Thunderbird, and singer/ songwriter Sandy Horne. Please join us for the official celebration of this unique exhibition.

Royal Subjects Speaker Series

Saturday, October 13, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

PART 1: Sixty Years a Queen by Peter Trepanier

Seeing Queen Elizabeth II as the ultimate performance artist (one who doesn’t merely act out her role as Queen, but rather embodies it), Peter Trepanier has been assembling pictures documenting her reign for the past ten years. As collector and artist, Trepanier explores images of the Queen and her family using collage to offer insight to our collective perception of the monarch and her place in our national ethos. Peter Trepanier is Head of Reader Services at the Library of the National Gallery of Canada. Included with gallery admission. Registration required.

Saturday, October 20, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

PART 2: Beneath the British Flag, The Crown and Haudenosaunee People Dialogue

Jeff Thomas and Rick Monture are both leading Six Nations intellectuals passionately questioning persisting stereotypes regarding the Canadian Aboriginal community. This encounter will give them an opportunity to re-contextualize two historical narratives: the complex story behind the British portraits of Four Indian Kings and the tale of the Mohawk poetess, Emily Pauline Johnson. Jeffrey M. Thomas is an Iroquois/Onondaga photographer, curator, and cultural analyst currently living in Ottawa. Dr. Rick Monture, a member of Mohawk Nation, is Assistant Professor of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Included with gallery admission. Registration required.

Saturday, November 3, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

PART 3: John Fraser, The Secret of the Crown

In this talk promoting his latest publication, award-winning journalist, author, and royal authority, John Fraser, will explore the endurance and allure of the Crown in Canada. With his trademark wit and artful agility, he looks at the Crown’s evolution from the Age of Deference to the era of celebrity, examines various aspects of the monarchy’s history and, finally, speculates on the future reign of Charles, Prince of Wales. Included with gallery admission. Registration required.

Community exhibition

Saturday, October 13 to Sunday, November 4

Her Crowning Glory, Celebrating Sixty Years of Fashion in Hats

Developed in collaboration with Seneca College, Fashion Resource Centre

From buttons and bows to feathers and flowers—during her reign Queen Elizabeth II has worn six decades worth of fashionable hats. This special display, developed in collaboration with Seneca College, presents fashionable millinery styles of the sort worn by members of the Royal Family as well as chic women of society from decades past. The Fashion Resource Centre at Seneca College is a collection of more than 10,000 garments and fashion accessories dating from the mid-1800s to present day and is used as a teaching aid for students in Seneca’s fashion programs. Included with gallery admission.

With two additional ‘Fashionable Hat’ programs for adult or child!

Saturday, October 27, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Dale Peers, Her Crowning Glory

Once upon a time, every princess wore a crown and every woman, a hat. Hats can be worn to hide the head and at the same time reveal information about the wearer. A woman’s social standing, personality, and fashionability may all be stated through her choice of millinery. Dale Peers, Professor and Costume Coordinator of the Seneca’s Fashion Resource Centre, will describe some of the important roles millinery has played in society and fashion over the decades, with examples from the Centre’s collection. Cost: $25 general public; $20 McMichael members. Gallery admission included. Registration required.

Sunday, October 28, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Halloween Hat Extravaganza

Since her coronation in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has purportedly worn 5,000 hats! Today is your opportunity to make your own most extravagant head creation, to match your Halloween costume. Visit one of our ongoing all-ages activity tables and hear about McMichael spirits in stories our educators are “pulling out of their hats!” Storytelling sessions take place at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage for the special exhibition programs. Nous reconnaissons l’appui du gouvernement du Canada par l’entremise du ministère du Patrimoine canadien pour les programmes d’exposition spéciale.

About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of almost 6,000 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located at 10365 Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg. For more information about the gallery, visit

Media contact:

Michelle Kortinen, Communications Coordinator

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2210