The series of four iconic screen prints by the cult pop artist were bought by the Royal Collection to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. They will be displayed for the first time at an exhibition in Windsor Castle later this year.
Warhol, who created the prints in 1985, once said, “I want to be as famous as the Queen of England.” But he is unlikely to have counted the monarch among his fans.
The images formed part of a portfolio called Reigning Queens and are from the Royal Edition, which is sprinkled with “diamond dust”, fine particles of cut or crushed glass which sparkle in the light like diamonds.
The set is the 14th in the special edition of 30. Another set from the same edition was auctioned by Sotheby’s last week and was expected to fetch an estimated £150,000.
Reigning Queens was based on pre-existing photographs of the monarch and three of her counterparts; Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Margrethe of Denmark and Queen Ntombi Twala of Swaziland. The photograph that was used of the Queen was taken in April 1975.