Regular visitors to Puke Ariki’s Taranaki Research Centre will be familiar with this portrait of a jovial young Queen Elizabeth II. It was painted by local sign writer Jack Wood and was based on a glitter encrusted postcard he had in his possession. The postcard’s lively portrait was said to be Winston Churchill’s favourite depiction of the newly crowned Queen. The huge portrait was mounted on the exterior of the King’s Building during the Queen’s visit to New Plymouth in January 1954. Despite its size, the painting was lost for more than 30 years before it was discovered in the old library and museum building in 2001 while it was being cleared for the construction of Puke Ariki. Jack Wood’s sign writing business, Wood Sign Service, was responsible for the meticulously painted signage of a range of small businesses around the Taranaki district.
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