The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II

Portrait 6

This portrait of Queen Elizabeth is based on a photograph by Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh. The photograph was one of many taken during a photographic session in 1951, a year before Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne. Many of the portraits from the photographic session show The Queen wearing a tiara, and the portrait chosen for the banknote originally had the tiara. The necklace worn by The Queen in this portrait, of diamond flowers and leaves, was a wedding present from Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar. The image on the banknotes, which is based on Karsh's photograph, was engraved by George Gundersen of the British American Bank Note Company, at which time the tiara was removed and the Queen's hair redrawn. This portrait is famous for its two varieties.

Date of Original Portrait: 1951
Photographer: Yousuf Karsh
Engraver: George Gundersen
Portrait 6a
The first variety of this engraving incorporates a 'devil's head' in The Queen's hair.
Use of this Portrait:
  • Canada -- Nos. 66 to 73
Portrait 6b
The second variety of the engraving is modified to remove the offending pattern in Her Majesty's hair.
Use of this Portrait:
  • Canada -- Nos. 74 to 84

In 2015 the Bank of Canada re-issued the banknote then in circulation with a special issue to commemorate Her Majesty becoming the longest reigning British monarch. Added to the clear window on the note are a number of special devices, including a depiction of the original portrait taken by Yousuf Karsh. This became the first Canadian banknote on which a portrait of Her Majestry is depicted with a tiara.

Image courtesy and copyright of The Bank of Canada.

© Peter Symes 2003