The Long-Lived Stoic Face of the Queen

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The Telegraph published an interesting piece yesterday on the handling of one of most recognizable images in modern times: Arnold Machin‘s plaster bust of the Queen of England, which began primarily appearing on stamps in the UK in 1967 and hasn’t changed since. The piece talks about creating the image, how it was ultimately selected, and where it is kept, safely and securely. Here’s a bit:

In the mid-Eighties, the Queen came under pressure to replace the Machin head with a modern design. After seeing five new designs, she relayed the message to the Royal Mail that she did not favour change just for the sake of it. Indeed, the Queen let it be known through her private office that she was “very content with the Machin effigy”.

Machin, who died eight years ago, was paid a flat fee of $4,500 for his work on the stamps – the equivalent of $58,000 at today’s values. In return, he surrendered all his rights to the design.