By Bernie Petit
Britain’s newest princess may not be named after the city of Charlotte, but we like to think there’s a connection between the royal baby and the Queen City.
Born in May to Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte owes her name to her grandfather, Prince Charles, the late Princess Diana and a litany of royal ancestors, perhaps most notably Queen Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Queen Charlotte, whom the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are named after, is part of Prince William’s lineage, which local artist Emily Andress discovered while researching different portraits of her in order to create a gorgeous painting to be sent as a baby gift to the royal family on behalf of the city and the cultural sector.
The oil painting is a modern twist on the 1767 Francis Cotes pastel of Queen Charlotte holding her daughter Charlotte. In her piece, Andress updates a young Queen Charlotte with a tiara fashioned after Charlotte’s skyline.
Pictures of the painting will be made public after it has been sent to England.
“Since this is a gift from our city and because she does have that skyline in her hair, it shows the pride of the bloodlines of the new little princess,” Andress said. “The mother is holding up her finger like she’s shushing you to tell you that the baby is sleeping.”
What makes Andress’ artwork unique is her expert use of negative space and her detailed line work, which she said has solidified her style.
“It is exciting to see what that line work is doing and how it’s creating a little more energy,” she said. “For me, it’s got a little more power behind it and shows the frantic beginnings of what my paintings are. They start out with a burst of line work and then it’s the painting and I like that.”
Her line-centric focus dates back to her background as a printmaker. She shifted her focus to painting 10 years ago, but it was only a year and a half ago that she felt like her painting was ready to show.
“I felt like I had explored printmaking as far as I wanted to go with it,” she said. “Oddly enough, I had to go back to my printmaking roots to in order to find this style now in my paintings.”
Her distinctive style has made her paintings recognizable in the local arts scene in a short time.
In December, she became a partner at Ciel Gallery in Charlotte’s South End. Her “Paparazzi” was one of 20 works by local artists that went up on local billboards at the beginning of the year through the Arts & Science Council’s (ASC) and Adam Outdoor Advertising’s 2015 ArtPop program.
She was also one of nine local artists chosen for ASC’s spring 2015 Community Supported Art program, which connects regional artists to local arts patrons.
“It’s been a ridiculous 2015, honestly,” she said.
Being tabbed to create a gift for Princess Charlotte is the latest feather in Andress’ proverbial cap. She painted an older version of Queen Charlotte, sans baby, as part of Ciel Gallery’s “Skew the Masters” fundraiser that raised more than $5,000 for ASC last month.
The work quickly sold and was also a finalist in the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce’s grand mural contest for its new lobby.
In her painting for the royal family, Andress replicated the finishing touch that made her first Queen Charlotte so popular.
“I wanted to make everyone absolutely certain that it was Queen Charlotte and I thought, ‘Okay, let’s just put the skyline on her head’” Andress said.
“I didn’t know how big of a deal that would be, but I think it resonated with people because the people that live here love it so much.”
We have a feeling some royal people across the pond will love it too.