Susanna Blunt

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Susanna Blunt
Born1941 (1941)
Known forArtist
SpouseBrian Clayden

Susanna Blunt (born 1955) is a Canadian portrait artist who designed the most recent portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the current Canadian coinage, first issued in 2003.

Early life and education[edit]

She was born in Harbin, China, the daughter of an English banker. Blunt started her studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts as a young teenager. After finishing high school at Queen Margaret's School she had a year of private lessons in Victoria, British Columbia. She moved to London, England and did four years of art school at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting in Kensington, then won a scholarship to the Royal Academy for another four years, during which she won several awards and a silver medal.[1] The year before graduating she held her first one-woman show at the now-defunct Canadian Art Gallery in Calgary, Alberta in 1966,[2] and then returned to England to complete the work for her diploma. She returned to Canada and settled in Vancouver in 1970.[3]

Teaching career[edit]

The following year she worked with Yoko Ono,[4] assisting her with various art projects and was invited with David Hockney to jury a national art competition.[citation needed] She then moved to California and started a teaching career, living in the San Francisco Bay area for three years before returning to Vancouver, where she continued teaching in both private and public institutions, including three years on the faculty of the Fine Arts Department at the University of British Columbia.


She became known for her trompe-l'œil paintings and designed the optical illusion room for the Science World museum in Vancouver in 1988. Between 1991 and 1992, while living in France she took part in five shows, group and solo, winning an award in an international competition.[citation needed]

Among the people she has painted are Toni Onley, painter, Vancouver; George Woodcock, author, Vancouver; Stanley Donen, film producer, Los Angeles; and Steven Isserlis, Cellist, London.[citation needed]

She was chosen in a nationwide competition by Gerda Hnatyshyn, wife of Governor-General of Canada Ramon Hnatyshyn, to paint her portrait for Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario. In 1997, she painted and delivered to Buckingham Palace a portrait of Prince Edward.[1]

Blunt was invited by the Royal Canadian Mint to join eight other artists in a nationwide competition for a new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to be used on Canadian coins. The Mint knew of her work, particularly the Hnatyshyn portrait mentioned above.[citation needed] Blunt created the image from a photograph of the Queen. She won the competition and her portrait of the Queen has been used on coins and currency in Canada from 2003.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b Lindsay Kines, "An Eye for Art Saves Painting". Vancouver Sun Oct 17, 2000
  2. ^ Linda Curtis, "Canadian artist home from Italy". Albertan, Feb 5, 1966
  3. ^ "Wide range to her canvases". Vancouver Province, Dec. 4, 1970
  4. ^ Taber, Jane (3 June 2003). "A matronly monarch, with her crown left off". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 28 December 2022.
  5. ^ "Who is Susanna Blunt?". Capitol Mint. Retrieved 5 June 2022.
  6. ^ IQ, CoinWeek (13 June 2015). "CoinWeek Coin Designer's Profile: Susanna Blunt". CoinWeek. Retrieved 5 June 2022.

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