David Hockney to Design Window Honoring the Queen in Westminster Abbey

The artist will have free rein in creating the window.

David Hockney. Photo Courtesy Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images.

Beloved British pop artist David Hockney will design a stained-glass window in Westminster Abbey designed in honor of the Queen. The window will be unveiled in June of 2018 to coincide with the opening of the Queen’s Jubilee Gallery in the church.

Situated in the abbey’s north transept, the window—which measures 6ft x 20ft—is being funded by two anonymous benefactors. It will be known as “The Queen’s window.”

According to The Guardian, Hockney’s plan is to create “a landscape full of blossom that’s a celebration every year.” The newspaper further speculates that the subject will therefore be of the artist’s signature paintings of trees in his native Yorkshire.

The move comes as somewhat of a surprise: Hockney has previously turned down knighthood, had once told the BBC that he was “too busy” to paint a portrait of the Queen, and in 2014, expressed to the Wall Street Journal that he is “not a supporter of any organised religion.”

Nevertheless, plans to move forward on the window are in full motion. A spokesperson for Westminster Abbey spoke about the selection, saying Hockney was the most obvious choice as he “is probably the greatest contemporary British artist.”

While abbey officials will oversee the install, the spokesperson emphasized that the artist “will have pretty much free rein because he’s David Hockney.”

“We’re as interested as everyone else to see what he comes up with,” the abbey’s representative added. “The Queen is certainly aware of the proposal and there will be continual briefings from us.”

In 2012, the Queen awarded Hockney the Order of Merit; besides the late Lucian Freud, Hockney is the only other artist to have held the honor.

The dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, said in a statement, “It will be wonderful to have in the abbey the work of this internationally renowned contemporary British artist who has been honored by the Queen with membership of the Order of Merit, which is in Her Majesty’s personal gift.”

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