The astonishing treasure trove of royal memorabilia is on loan from North Devon collector Sarah Grant - Credit: Viral PR

Queen's Jubilee Exhibition: Huge collection makes debut at Barnstaple Library

Joseph Bulmer

An amazing collection dedicated to the life of Her Majesty the Queen will be on display at Barnstaple Library to mark her Platinum Jubilee.

The astonishing treasure trove of royal memorabilia is on loan from North Devon collector Sarah Grant and will be available to view at the free Queen’s Jubilee Exhibition on the top floor of the library from Tuesday, May 24 until Monday, June 6.

More than 200 items will be featured in the exhibition, borrowed from Sarah’s incredible collection of more than 3,000 pieces, including many very rare items.

The astonishing treasure trove of royal memorabilia is on loan from North Devon collector Sarah Grant - Credit: Viral PR
The astonishing treasure trove of royal memorabilia is on loan from North Devon collector Sarah Grant - Credit: Viral PR

Exhibits span the life of Queen Elizabeth II and include samples of silk from the coronation gown, a kneeler from the coronation service on June 2, 1953, family photographs, original portraits, limited edition prints, stamps, coins and much more.

The exhibition will also include Jubilee portraits created by students from The Park Community School in Barnstaple.

Queen Elizabeth is now 96-years-old and is the longest reigning female monarch in history, following her ascension to the throne on February 6, 1952.

Sarah hit local and national headlines last year with her collection, which she has gathered together over a decade – much of it simply through the power of eBay and the internet.

It spans the Queen’s entire life, from original painted portraits to limited edition prints, original family photographs, busts, stamps and coins.

Some unique examples include handwritten thank you notes from the Queen and the late Prince Philip, autographed pictures and a sample of the silk from Norman Hartnell’s studio of the dress Her Majesty wore during the Coronation.

The Barnstaple Library exhibition will be complimented by displays from its Local Studies Centre, which includes the North Devon Athenaeum and the North Devon Records Office.

An original oil painting of the Queen by local artist Sarah Flannery will also be exhibited with prints available to purchase.

The astonishing treasure trove of royal memorabilia is on loan from North Devon collector Sarah Grant - Credit: Viral PR
The astonishing treasure trove of royal memorabilia is on loan from North Devon collector Sarah Grant - Credit: Viral PR

Sarah began collecting almost by chance, after being inspired by the collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel, two New York civil service workers who amassed an amazing collection of post-1960s art in their one-bedroom apartment.

She has not purchased randomly but has meticulously researched every single item, often discovering the stories hidden behind them and unearthing even more rare items as a result.

Sarah said: “I am so pleased that Barnstaple Library has chosen to display a part of my collection and give me the opportunity to share this passion with a wider audience.

“I do hope local people will want to come along and find out more about this amazing woman who has been part of our lives for more than 90 years.

“I have huge admiration and respect for the work and dedication she has shown in her life.

“The word iconic is used so many times but she is truly one of the greatest icons of the 20th century. She has dedicated her whole life to serve our country and has never faltered in that promise.

“My collecting is different in that I wanted pieces in my collection that were a reflection of Her Majesty’s life and work rather than the regular memorabilia that you can buy to celebrate different occasions.”

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