Music

Picture Me This: The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths

The Oxford Student speaks to Electra Lyhne-Gold, student of Fine Art at St John’s, about her striking artistic take on The Smiths’ classic 1986 song, ‘The Queen Is Dead’ (the title song from their 1986 album). The full image can be seen below.

I was inspired by one song, ‘The Queen Is Dead’. It was funny imagining Morrissey’s line from the song: ‘I say Charles, don’t you ever crave / To appear on the front of the Daily Mail / Dressed in your mother’s bridal veil?’

‘I was inspired by the album cover, designed by Morrissey. It’s a picture of the actor Alain Delon in a film ‘L’Insoumis’ from 1964, which was a film noir – early Hollywood noir has been an inspiration in my own work for years. The image I have created is an overtly dramatic reworking of a photograph of myself, attempting to capture a narrative, filmic scene: a moment stopped in time. I’m imagining a character of a younger Queen, or a royal in the palace, who is either in shock, terrified, or dead, lying on the floor. Medals from Prince Charles’ jacket, the Queen’s pearl earring, and a circular crown on the hairline have all been layered in. I wanted to create an English Gothic feel to the image, so the crown is actually taken from detail on a rose stained glass window at Westminster Abbey, and a faded window from Westminster Abbey can also be seen in the corner, almost as an extension of the dress.

There’s quite a bit of humour in this song, it’s so mocking – Morrissey talks of breaking into the palace with a sponge and a rusty spanner, so I’ve put a rusty spanner in the hand of this woman on the floor (hopefully subtly). I guess this blurs the roles between Morrissey, the Queen, and Charles. He does say he’s discovered that he’s ‘the 18th pale descendent!”

Electra Lyhne-Gold

By Electra Lyhne-Gold

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