Ian Rank-Broadley and Jody Clark are two of the most talented British artists who have left an indelible mark on the United Kingdom and Commonwealth coinage. Each is best known respectively as the creator of the fourth and fifth portraits of Queen Elizabeth II used on all United Kingdom coinage.
Both have also designed and engraved many other coins for their home country, and their royal effigies also have appeared on the coinage of Commonwealth countries. For example, Rank-Broadley’s effigy debuted in 1998 and was used on the obverse of all United Kingdom coinage, including on gold sovereign bullion and Proof coins, until 2014, which amounts to billions of coins.
The design also continues to appear on coins of several Commonwealth countries, including Australian coinage, until 2019, when it was replaced with a new design by Jody Clark that is similar, but shows the Queen wearing her royal diadem or necklace.
Mr. Clark also created an original portrait for some of the coinage of St. Helena. At the same time, other coins from that former British colony continue to feature a design by Raphael Maklouf that first was used on UK coinage from 1985 until 1997 that also shows her wearing the diadem.
Who Is Ian-Rank Broadley?
Mr. Rank-Broadley is one of the best-known British figurative sculptors whose most extensive work involves monumental sculptures. Rank-Broadley was recently in the news in the United Kingdom because he created the larger-than-life-size sculpture of Princess Diana located in the sunken gardens of Kensington Palace in London. The statue, which shows Diana with three children to symbolize her extensive humanitarian work and her deep connection with children, was unveiled at the end of June during a ceremony with Diana’s two sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, as well as the artist and his wife. The artist said he tried to capture Diana’s “warmth, elegance and energy” with the work.
69-year old Rank-Broadley, whose career spans over 35 years, studied art and sculpture at the Slade School in the UK and the British School in Rome, Italy. Some of his best-known sculptures include public commissions of bronze sculptures for the Armed Forces Memorial in the UK. His work has been exhibited extensively at the British Museum and other locations.
Rank-Broadley’s other coin designs for the United Kingdom include, among others, a 2007 crown featuring the Queen and Prince Phillip for their 60th wedding anniversary and a gold kilo coin for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, marking the 60th year of her service as British monarch.
The artist’s portrait of Prince Phillip, who died on April 9, appears on a new £ 5-pound silver crown issued to celebrate the life of the famous figure. Prince Phillip had a significant impact on UK coinage while serving from 1952 to 1999 as president of The Royal Mint Advisory Committee (similar to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) in the US) -- a group that consists of experts in art, sculpture, and other fields. In that capacity, Phillip oversaw the design of all United Kingdom coins and medals during that time period. His initial appointment coincided with the death of King George VI when new coins bearing images of his wife Queen Elizabeth II were needed. The obverse of the new silver coins for the late Duke of Edinburgh features Jody Clark’s effigy of the monarch, making this the only UK coin to date bearing designs by both artists.
Who Is Jody Clark?
Mr. Clark is a 40-year old British engraver who worked for The Royal Mint from September of 2012 to May of 2020. He currently is the Head of Design at the Commonwealth Mint. Clark initially designed commemorative pieces for The Royal Mint and designed coins for the Isle of Man, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Lesotho, and Azerbaijan. Before designing coins, he studied art and later designed DVD packaging, which exposed him to working in different levels of thickness.
In 2015 Clark’s anonymously submitted portrait of the Queen was selected to become the fifth definitive portrait, replacing the Rank-Broadley’s effigy. He is the youngest artist to have achieved this honor, to have done so anonymously, and the first mint employee in 100 years to design a royal portrait.
Clark’s design was created by turning his sketches into a low-relief model using computer-aided design software without the manual sculpting of coin models that older artists like Mr. Rank-Broadley typically use. In addition, he did not meet with the Queen to prepare his design, basing it solely on photographs. He shows her wearing the crown she usually wears to state openings and state visits. His initial sketches included her wearing her necklace, but the Advisory Committee asked him to remove that from the design.
Clark’s work is also well known for appearing on both sides of the very popular Queen’s Beast series of bullion and collector coins in silver, gold, and platinum issued since 2016 that recently concluded with an 11th coin featuring each of the ten beasts surrounding a miniature portrait of the Queen. His designs of each of the beasts appear on the reverses of the ten prior coins, while his definitive portrait graces the obverse, as it does on virtually all the billions of coins that circulate today in the United Kingdom.
Clark’s work is even the topic of an NGC registry set.
Clark has said he is especially proud of his royal portrait and that he gets a kick out of seeing people use the coins with his effigy. He said in 2017: “It is a nice feeling to see my design out there in the world, being used by everyone in the UK. It is going to be quite hard to top.”
Considering how much he has already achieved at a young age, Clark will undoubtedly continue to create many more beautiful coin designs in the future, as will Mr. Rank-Broadley. Both men already have left a significant numismatic legacy to modern coinage.
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