The Queen sat in the dark staring at an ultra-violet crucifix, the air awash with the incense of a Soho corner-shop. It was 2004, and artist Chris Levine had been sent to Buckingham Palace by the Island of Jersey to make the first holographic image of a British monarch. A high-resolution camera orbited the sovereign on a curved rail, documenting her from every angle. The incense was Levine’s idea, brought along to relax the mood amid the Regency grandeur of the Palace’s Yellow Drawing Room. The crucifix gave the Queen both an eyeline and a stimulus, Levine hoping that gazing on her raison d’etre would cause firm resolution to flood across her face. This produced the official portrait for the Island of Jersey, entitled Equanimity. But that wasn’t all. In between the long eight-second shots, Levine advised her Majesty to take a rest. One quick snap later, and Levine had the image that would make his name. It stayed on his hard-drive of offcuts until 2007, going on display as Lightness of Being. It is now being shown with other works by Levine in Fortnum and Mason’s 3’6 Bar.
Of the many portraits produced of the Queen over the years, this is by far the most remarkable.