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Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 16:45 GMT
Rolf's Queen portrait on display
Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris shows off his portrait of the Queen
Rolf Harris has admitted the prospect of painting an official portrait of the Queen made him shake with nerves.

The 76-year-old artist said he felt as if he was "on the starting blocks at the Olympics, waiting for the gun to go off" as he prepared to paint the Queen.

The artist's canvas, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, An 80th Birthday Portrait, is on show in Scotland for the first time this weekend.

The painting was unveiled at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

We had three hours to wait and the panic set in then, with butterflies in the stomach
Rolf Harris

Describing the build-up to his art session with the Queen, Mr Harris said: "It was as scary as anything when we were waiting.

"We had three hours to wait and the panic set in then, with butterflies in the stomach.

"Then she came in and put us all at ease. It was lovely."

The artwork, which took two months to complete, was commissioned by the BBC and was the subject of a television documentary.

His painting is one of more than 130 official portraits which have been made of the Queen throughout her life.

The 100cm x 50cm portrait was based on two sittings and was completed at his own studio.

Harris previously described the portrait as reflecting her "warm personality", rather than being a formal study.

'Friendly painting'

Standing beside the picture on Friday, he said: "I think it's like you'd want your favourite grandmother to be portrayed.

"It's a very friendly painting with a welcoming smile and eyes that look at you.

"I just hope she likes it," he said.

The artist, who has enjoyed a 40-year career in show business, said he hoped his work would be "quite well" received by Scots visitors to the palace.

He added: "It's so nice to have the painting exhibited in Scotland and in this wonderful building.

"It's a joy and a chance for the people of Scotland to see the painting."

The artwork will be on display to the visiting public in the Queen's Lobby from Saturday until 7 January, 2007.


SEE ALSO
Harris 'thrilled' with CBE honour
02 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
Rolf shows off Queen's portrait
19 Dec 05 |  Entertainment

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