The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are among the United Kingdom's most important ambassadors.
Every year, Their Royal Highnesses travel abroad at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to further British diplomatic interests, raise the UK’s profile in the country visited and promote British excellence. Other times The Prince of Wales visits Commonwealth Realms on behalf of The Queen who is head of state. See a full list of countries visited by The Prince of Wales.
As an engaged Patron of the Arts and a keen amateur watercolourist himself, His Royal Highness likes to create a record of a tour that goes beyond the limitations of photography. When he travels abroad, The Prince of Wales chooses a tour artist to join the tour party at his request and his own expense.
On His Royal Highness's Diamond Jubilee visit in Autumn 2012, The Prince of Wales asked artists Warwick Fuller, an Australian, and Sue Wild, from New Zealand to take on the role of tour artists in their own country. They travelled everywhere with the Royal Tour party and Their Royal Highnesses and represented Australia and New Zealand with great enthusiasm and vigour!
As the position of Tour Artist offers a unique perspective on the Diamond Jubilee tour, we have asked them to write about their own experiences of representing their countries through their art.
We have created an album of images which you can view by clicking on the link below:View Album (6 images)
Warwick Fuller - Tour Artist, Australia
"I was the official tour artist with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, during their recent tour of Australia. The Prince of Wales was introduced to my work through Panter and Hall Gallery, London, who represent me in the United Kingdom. A successful exhibition earlier this year was my seventh one-man show with them.
"It has been a policy of Prince Charles to take an artist on tour as he is a watercolourist himself and understands the difference between the cold hard facts of a photograph and an interpretation through the eyes of an artist. Paintings from these tours may become part of The Prince's collection, ultimately entering the Royal Collection.
"It was a whirlwind tour moving at a relentless pace, with military precision, planning and timing. I was able to paint at locations planned ahead of time and fortunately, mostly found good subject material.
"On a showery day at a sheep stud out of Hobart I only just won a race by seconds against a great pelting storm.
"At the Icebergs Club at Bondi, Sydney, a monstrous deluge beat me! I was drenched through with an unsalvageable painting roughed up by the sudden driving rain. Magic moments came along at Yarralumla ACT. While a garden party and ceremony was taking place just over the hedge, I stood on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin with reflected billowing sky and gentle breeze, to the strains of Advance Australia Fair.
"Whilst I painted in the vicinity of the formal Diamond Jubilee receptions, greetings and ceremonies, out of the ‘range of distraction’, on the breeze I heard performances of Gurrimul Yunupingu, various military bands and chatter with Governor-Generals, Governors, Premiers and other dignitaries.
"Flying from Melbourne to Adelaide, to Hobart, to Sydney, to Canberra on a RAAF B737 plane, painting whenever I could on the many short stops, I finished the tour with nine paintings, some pencil sketches, and an arrangement to go back to Admiralty house and Garden Island!
"My big moments to remember were:
- Wandering the grand halls and rooms of government house in both Melbourne and Sydney to find rarely seen paintings by Roberts, Streeton, Smart and Ashton
- Standing in the centre of the War Memorial in Canberra with sketchbook in still silence during the playing of the last post
- Painting beside the Flemington race track mounting yard, in front of the private members stand with a halo of space around me in the throng of people as the Melbourne Cup race begins
- In-flight discussion with The Prince on his days at Timbertop, Victoria, and my camping and painting there earlier this year. He was happy that my brother-in-law was catching trout in the Howqua River as he himself had done in 1966.
Website - www.warwickfuller.com
Royal Tour Artist Sue Wild on Wellington waterfront
Sue Wild - Tour Artist, New Zealand
"In a hot and dusty campsite in Italy in July 2012, I received an incredible phone call - an invitation to be the artist on the Royal Tour of New Zealand, appointed by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. I mumbled in astonishment about ‘privilege and honour’ and thought “How crazy amazing!”
"The Prince, as a keen painter himself, appoints an artist to record his tours. Until now he has taken a British artist. This time, I was told, he decided to appoint a local artist and I was chosen to be that person. What a huge privilege and a huge challenge!
"I practised daily, working particularly on speed sketching. I pre-visited the venues on the tour programme, I refined my kit. I sewed a splendid ’mobile sketcher’s pinny’, with pockets for small palette, brushes, pens, pencils, camera and even water. (I have applied for a patent!) I planned my clothing, learned the correct form of address, perused The Prince’s website and read the history of England! And finally, there I was, in the welcoming party at the airport.
"The Royal Tour Party was a wonderful group. Every member, from Prince and Duchess to valet and logistics team, moved with impressive speed and efficiency, while finding the time to care for each other and everyone around them with warmth and lively British wit! They were a 'mean machine', an honour and a joy to join.
The Auckland CBD across the mudflats from the North Shore, By Sue Wild
"Being the artist was like my first solo flight as a glider pilot ”“ I had the training, the kit, the information, the preparation ”“ and this time I was solely responsible for the flight and for landing a set of my best paintings. The Prince’s enthusiastic encouragement gave me brush-power!
"The itinerary was full and exciting - just sitting in a motorcade was a buzz! I felt proud of my country - the pure delight on a face that had glimpsed The Duchess or danced with The Prince, the thrill of school kids, the joy of volunteers, the bubbling fun of The Prince’s 64th birthday party with 64 Kiwis. Even the sun celebrated!
"I sketched fast and freely - landscapes, cityscapes, people and events ”“ sometimes recording in the space of two minutes with a splash of colour and a few lines an impressionistic basis for a painting.
"New Zealand is brimming with excellent artists and especially watercolour painters and I am highly honoured to be the one who got ‘the call’."
Website - www.wildconcepts.co.nz