Lifeguard Escort – The Coronation
Signed and inscribed: To Slim – Feliks Topolski
Pen and ink, red crayon and watercolour on tinted paper
46 by 53 cm., 18 ¼ by 21 in.
(frame size 71 by 78 cm., 28 by 30 ¾ in.)
Slim Hewitt, photographer, and thence by descent.
Topolski was born in Warsaw, Poland and studied at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts (1925-30). He was a prolific contributor of illustrations to books and periodicals in Poland but at the outbreak of World War II he settled in England, becoming a naturalized British subject in 1947. In Britain he became an official war artist to the Polish Forces, depicting the Blitz and the Battle of Britain, recording the bombed streets and scenes of wartime London life. In 1941 he travelled to Russia as a member of a Polish Diplomatic Mission and went on to serve widely overseas. Following the war he published selections of drawing and began designing for the theatre. In 1951 he made a series of largescale decorations for the Festival of Britain. Works by him are in the British Museum, Tate Gallery, Imperial War Museum and in Poland.
In 1958, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh commissioned Topolski to create a large scale mural for Buckingham Palace depicting the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The mural contains 14 friezes divided into two narratives; one narrative, entitled “In The Streets” shows various processions to Westminster Abbey, while the second, entitled “In the Abbey”, depicts the procession out of the Abbey after the coronation.