‘She sat for him 12 times’: The Nigerian artist who made a bronze sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II
Ahead of a national event to mark the centenary of the Battle of Britain, the sculptor who created the Queen’s image for the commemorative coin, has said she was’very close’ to the nation’s monarch, even though she was not always a supporter.
Oluwole Ajogwu was commissioned by the Bank of England to create a bronze statue of Queen Elizabeth on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The artist was commissioned to make a bust of the queen, which was unveiled by her grandson Prince Michael when the statue was unveiled in 2011.
But an online profile for Ajogwu, now 48, reveals how he was initially a long-term supporter of the monarch, who once visited his studio to see him work, then declined to take part.
But he said the princess – who was born Elizabeth, the wife of Prince Philip – was’very close’ to him while she was alive, after they were introduced by the royal doctor.
‘In my studio when Queen Elizabeth came she was always very close to me,’ he said, speaking to BBC Three’s All in a Day. ‘But she couldn’t really join the studio because of her schedule.’
Mr Ajogwu, who was born in Ilesha, Nigeria, says he fell in love with the work of William Blake, the great artist of the 19th Century, while working as a teacher and also a sculptor.
He said the royal family’saved my life’ by introducing him to Blake, who once taught him ‘how to read and to write. He was very kind to me because he recognised what I was doing and he liked my style.’
‘I love her personality,’ he said. ‘I have always admired her personality, her kindness.
‘I was not always supporting her but I was always very close to her. She was not always a supporter but she was very kind.’
Oluwole Ajogwu says he fell in love with the work of William Blake, the great artist of the 19th Century, while working as a teacher and also a sculptor. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at the