The late Queen Elizabeth II of England was also the Queen of Nigeria.
From 1960 to 1963, Nigeria was a sovereign state that practiced monarchy, a system of government where an individual ruler who achieves his or her position through heredity functions as the head of state.
Elizabeth II, however, was the only monarch to reign during this time, and as a result, she became the title Queen of England as well as Nigeria.
Although her reign as Queen of Nigeria came to an end on October 1, 1963, she maintained a friendly relationship with the most populous black nation until her death.
In 1956, Queen Elizabeth the II visited Nigeria, where she commissioned her bronze sculpture which was exhibited by Ben Enwonwu, a Nigerian sculptor.
The queen sat for Enwonwu in London for the art work which portrays her seated with her hands in her laps in 1957 and was intended to mark her visit to Nigeria in January and February 1956.
Enwonwu completed and presented the sculpture, at the Royal Society of British Artists exhibition in London in November 1957
The proposal for the statue was initiated by Enwonwu who contacted Alan Lennox-Boyd, the British government’s secretary of state for the Colonies. The statue was intended to sit in the Nigerian House of Representative prior to the independence of the Federation of Nigeria and the end of colonial rule in 1960.
The queen sat for the Nigerian sculptor on 12 occasions, having eight sittings held at a place and four at Reid-Dicks Maida Vale Studio.
A studio was created for Ewonwu at the Queen’s palace where he spent an hour daily, sketching and modeling with clay.
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Due to the big size of the statue, Enwonwu later transferred to a studio belonging to the Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland, William Reid Dick, in Maida Vale in west London where the queen sat for four days after sitting for 8 days in the palace.
Enwonwu created the Queen’s initial sketch in watercolours which captured her in frontal poses and a bust of Elizabeth as a measure to help develop her final pose, portraying her regalia.
The sculpture was cast in bronze by Giulio Galicie in London, a second life size version was cast in epoxy resin and was the one displayed at the exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists in London in November 1957.