The 2010s have been filled with joyful celebration for Buckingham Palace and the UK, from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 to the birth of Princess Charlotte earlier this year. But perhaps one of the greatest events in British royal history is still to come; on Wednesday 9 September at exactly 4.18pm Queen Elizabeth II will become Great Britain’s longest reigning monarch.
The Queen will overtake her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch in 1896 and ruled until 1901 after 23,336 days on the throne. Just as in Victoria’s day, there will be no official celebration, but that has not stopped the nation from expressing their jubilation. Colourful events have been planned around the UK to celebrate the Queen’s “record reign”, including a flotilla of historic vessels, leisure cruisers and passenger boats along the Thames and a projection display at the Tower of London.
To mark this momentous occasion Illustrated London News have announced the release of a special limited edition book, entitled The Record Reign of Her Majesty The Queen. The publication draws on previously unseen footage from ILN’s archive and features a foreword from Prime Minister, David Cameron, as well as a brand new exclusive portrait of The Queen in her Garter Robes, painted in oils by Alastair Barford. It is a truly glorious recollection of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, celebrating her life and developments in Britain over the last 63 years.
This commemorative publication is part of a 118 year old company tradition. The Illustrated London News previously published A Record Number for a Record Reign in 1897, which paid tribute to Queen Victoria and her era-defining monarchy. A reproduction of this special publication has been included in ILN’s latest release alongside The Record Reign of Her Majesty The Queen – collectively entitled The Record Reign: Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.
“These are two remarkable Queens, who have reigned over periods of extraordinary change,” says ILN’s Chief Executive Lisa Barnard. “Our aim is to present the two reigns side by side in order to compare, contrast and commemorate. The ILN, as the world’s first pictorial newspaper, has vividly chronicled both periods and both monarchs since our inception in 1842, thus we are best placed to do this. It has been a publishing feat to recreate the 1897 publication and we have gone to enormous lengths to remain faithful to the original.”
ILN is also publishing a softback ‘bookazine’, The Illustrated Record Reign, which will provide a popular account of The Queen’s reign, with image led features and entertaining vignettes. The ‘bookazine’ follows the success of ILN’s 2012 publication, The Illustrated Diamond Jubilee.
The limited edition book set and bookazine will be released on 3 September. The former is priced at £295 for both volumes, with only a print run of 1000 copies, while the bookazine is available for £6.99. To find out more about these publications and to reserve your copies visit the dedicated website www.recordreign.com.
As a designer at ILN, one of the things I love most about my job is the power of colour. It plays a huge part in every aspect of my work. This year, several magazines have devoted whole issues to a single colour and I loved looking at their different takes on this subject.
Aston Martin Magazine, published by ILN, has been devoting its style features to a single shade that is a special Aston Martin paint colour, with Sunshine Yellow accessories featured in the next issue.
In the world of fashion, colour has enormous influence, reflecting not just seasonal trends, but also a designer’s personal feelings. Tomas Maier, creative director at Bottega Veneta, was using mood lifting colours (red, pink and orange) to brighten up autumn days in his 2016 pre-summer collection (below).
We associate brighter colours with the sunnier summer days, with cooler colours for winter. Burberry, for example, has very colourful accessories for spring/summer 2015, in contrast to its traditional, more neutral colour palette.
Trend forecasting organisations, such as WGSN and Style.com, predict forthcoming styles in fashion, as well as the colours that will be popular. When it comes to marketing products, most logos and branding communicate meaning through their colour. Research has shown that some of the world’s most powerful brands tend to lean towards either green/blue or red/orange tones. According to technology blogger Eric Dye: “Blue generally receives a cool, calm, trustworthy, knowledgeable response. The colour red, in contrast, is exciting, eye-catching, fast acting and powerful.”
A survey carried out by Dulux Paints found that blue was the world’s favourite colour, and yellow the least favourite with only 5% of people. The survey also found that men and women increasingly disliked the colour orange as they get older ! And blue continues to be favourite with Dulux expecting its tropical blue to be one of its most popular colours in 2015.
Pantone is known across the world as a colour authority. Each year, it selects what it considers to be the colour of the year. This year, Marsala was the winner. When I first saw this colour, I was not immediately impressed, but when I imagine it used for luxury leather or silk textures, I can see how appealing this beautiful, deep Sicilian wine colour is – it is the perfect autumn colour.
According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director, Pantone Color Institute®: “This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth.” Magazines such as InStyle (below) have certainly embraced the colour.
Pantone’s annual colour choices in previous years have ranged from tangerine tango to turquoise.
We all, of course, have favourite colours. Some just like the sheer beauty of their chosen favourites, while others believe they have a spiritual meaning. For example, in China red symbolises good fortune.
Last year, I attended a spiritual wedding during which the bride and groom celebrated with a ribbon ceremony. This is a beautiful way for a couple to make promises and vows to each other by binding their hands together with different coloured ribbons.
Each colour represents a part of the wedding vows:
Green: symbolises earth, representing the physical and material
Yellow: symbolises air, representing mental and intellectual
Red: symbolises fire, representing passion
Blue: symbolises water, representing emotion and love
White: symbolises spirit, representing the spiritual and philosophical
Colours can give such a feel-good feeling that whole events are organised around them, such as the Holi One colour festival, where thousands of people dressed in white come together to enjoy music, dance, performance art – and being doused in brightly coloured powders. Originating in India, this memorable event now takes place across the world, from New Zealand to Casablanca.
And my own particular favourite colour? It is blue. I’m drawn to earthy colours like blue and green – it reminds me of the sea, the sky and the earth in general.
I recently met former Illustrated London News engraver Brian Clifford Williams at his home in the Essex town of Billericay. An extremely pleasant and cheerful man, he immediately welcomed me with a warm handshake and a cup of tea, and we soon sat down to talk about the fascinating experiences he had working for ILN.
Brian, at the age of 15, found his first job at The Illustrated London News through his father, John Lionel Williams, a “jobber” employed to bundle up magazines and do various other odd jobs. “I thought, Dad’s there, he’ll find something,” recalls Brian. “Sure enough, he did. He got me a job by chatting to his friends in the pub! That’s how it worked back then.”
Brian began working for The Illustrated London News as an errand boy, running messages, sweeping the floors, buying meat for the guys he worked with and, on one occasion, was sent to Scotland Yard to have an image for the magazine approved. He left a year later to begin an apprenticeship with Lascelles, the company that printed The Illustrated London News and its sister titles (known as the Great Eight publications).
As we talk, he transports himself back to the small printing factory on London’s Essex Street more than 60 years ago and recalls the constant and tremendous smell of vinegar and the scolding heat of the burners: “The images were burnt into copper plates with the help of Bunsen burners, ready to be transferred to that week’s edition of The Illustrated London News. They’d be cut on a guillotine to fit the pictures, and when finished with were washed in an acid bath ready to be printed again… You go back to Essex Street now and you wouldn’t believe that a factory was once there with this going on!”
Brian worked side by side with a team of specialists to ensure that The Illustrated London News and Great Eight publications were filled with magnificent etchings and photographs on a weekly basis. There were dozens of jobs at Lascelles and the factory roared with the mad rush of glass cleaners, camera operators, metal printers and managers.
Brian also met a few celebrities while he was at Lascelles: “One day, they were making a film there – they liked the building’s doors, which were lovely. The guy being filmed was Dana Andrews, the famous 1940s actor. A while before that, I also met the actor Sam Kydd, who was a legend in his day.”
After years of working with Lascelles, Brian was called up for his National Service and served in Libya for more than a year: “I went into the Army and they told me I might be good as a guardsman. But I ended up in the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC), which was the unit responsible for keeping the British Army supplied with all its provisions. We called it the ‘Run Away Someone’s Coming’ army!”
In 1958, Brian finished his time in the Army and left Lascelles a little while after that, finding employment at a different printing company. Although he loved his time with The Illustrated London News and Lascelles, he felt he had learned all he could and that it was time to move on. He got married in the same year he left Lascelles, has had several children and grandchildren, and will be celebrating his 80th birthday this month.
Hot off the press, the spring issue of Sphere has landed in the office, including a bespoke cover shot exclusively for copies distributed at Baselworld, the annual international watch and jewellery fair in Switzerland.
Flick through the digital page-turner below to see the dedicated “Pulse” (watch and jewellery) section of the magazine, along with the latest trends in luxury travel and lifestyle from around the world.
I love flowers in my home – and if I can’t get them fresh, I make do with a bit of home decoration!
I discovered a lovely shop in Shoreditch, House of Hackney. This luxury interiors store specialises in British-made prints and products steeped in tradition, but with a modern twist. It sells everything from cushions to clothing in a range of fabulous floral prints.
Its print collections are inspired by the natural world and include everything from garden birds to sumptuous English roses.
Well worth a visit if you like flowers.