THE ONLY artist who received official accreditation to capture the State Visit on canvas has been permitted to present one of his paintings as a gift to the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Co. Clare native Michael Hanrahan made a special trip to London to follow President Michael D Higgins’ state visit to Britain in April.
He went on to create three paintings from the historic occasion and the Queen has now chosen one which she wishes to add to her personal collection.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth gave me permission to paint scenes from the state visit in April,” the artist told The Irish Post.
“She also told me she wanted to see the finished work, so I photographed the three finished paintings and sent them to her,” he added.
“To my delight I recently received a letter from the Queen advising that she had selected the horse-drawn carriage painting – which depicts the carriage used to take the Queen and Michael D Higgins to Windsor Castle on day one of the President's historic visit to Britain.”
Hanrahan, who lives in Lahinch and has a studio and gallery in Ennistymon, was the only artist given media accreditation to access the state visit events, which took place over four-days.
He then went back to his studio to create his artistic interpretation of the occasions.
On October 6 he will return to Buckingham Palace to present the Queen’s chosen painting, the second which will now hang in the Royal Collection.
“This painting is the second painting that I will now have in the Royal Collection as I was also the only artist granted official accreditation to paint the Queen's own historic visit to Ireland in May 2011,” he explained.
“I delivered my painting ‘The Queen and the President at the Garden of Remembrance' to Buckingham Palace on August 10, 2011, so I am delighted to be returning to Buckingham Palace with the state visit painting that the Queen has chosen.”
The remaining two paintings of Hanrahan’s state visit collection were due to be auctioned by Whytes Art auction house in Dublin, but were “snapped up” prior to the auction by collectors in Saudi Arabia and London, the artist added.
After formerly working in Britain for AIB, Hanrahan left banking and returned to Ireland in 2006 to take up art full time.
He has since captured a number of historic occasions worldwide on canvas and his works now hang in Buckingham Palace, Áras an Uachtaráin, The White House and the Kennedy Library in Boston.
Hanrahan also travels the world teaching watercolour painting to guests on Cunard International cruise liners.
Michael Hanrahan will officially unveil the Queen’s chosen painting at a reception at his gallery on Old Town Street, in Ennistymon, Co Clare tomorrow evening (September 12).