12 March 2013 - 16:07
An Interview With Andrew Stewart Jamieson, The Queen’s Illuminator & Scribe


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This is the first in what we hope will be a series of fascinating and candid interviews with some very interesting (and in some cases, lesser known) people who are involved in working with the Royal Family.

Andrew Stewart Jamieson is Her Majesty The Queen’s Official Scribe and Illuminator and he very kindly spared us some of his time to answer a few questions about just what it is he does. You can visit Andrew’s website at http://jamiesongallery.com/ and you can also see some more of his work, on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/asjamieson/.

“It means I follow a tradition that is as old as monarchy itself. I write and illuminate official documents called Letters Patent issued by the Crown Office under the Monarchs name, for example, when Her Majesty grants a title to a member of the Royal Family, creates Judges of the Supreme Court or grants privileges to Cities and Towns.”

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“When I was a  small boy growing up in East London I loved to paint and draw, colour was important to me in those drab environments and that thrill of making a mark has never left me. So yes I very much enjoy my work albeit as heraldic artist, calligrapher and illuminator or when I am painting my English landscapes. The really fascinating thing for me is, I get to meet so many interesting people from all walks of life. I have painted coats of arms and produced calligraphy for Princes, Maharaja’s and taxi drivers. Even the Dalai Lama has a Jamieson! My work has been published in many books on heraldry and I always get a thrill seeing that. The Cherry on the cake though was to be invited to work for the Crown Office and produce Letters Patent. All my work takes a great deal of focus and concentration but when working the royal documents I am aware of the full force of the history of our monarchy expressed through the royal emblems. That they are  symbolic of Her Majesty the Queen is equally important and so I must always be ‘on my game’ so to speak especially if she is signing one! Her Majesty is known for her eye for detail. I cannot say it is hard work, there are people who really have to work hard for a living but it is the culmination of a childhood ambition and I must draw on all my professional training and over 30 years experience in this field whenever I sit down at my desk. I still get that child like thrill seeing those freshly written letters glistening on the page and the gold leaf glinting in the sunlight and I do all this with a view of the beautiful West Country outside my studio window. It does not get better than that.”
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“First I am issued with a text to write. Then I prepare a calf skin vellum with Gum Sandarac , Pumice and cuttlefish. Next comes the text written with a carefully prepared goose quill pen dipped in hand ground ink. I then lay the vellum aside and design the work for the illuminated Capital letter, ‘E’  which should show elements of the Royal Arms, but I often show the whole arms which are only a few inches high. I then trace this design down and gild and paint it. My ‘signature’ is the border which is composed of the quarters of the royal shield of arms. The paints I use are gouache, watercolour and 23c gold leaf hand blended into a paint, which is burnished with a Haematite burnisher. The really cool thing is that some of what I do would be familiar to a medieval artist, the processes are really that old!  When the work is finished it is carefully packaged and sent to London where the Great Seal is attached and then it is placed in it’s red presentation box bearing the Royal Cypher.”

“I have met members of the Royal Family through my work as an artist although I only work in an official capacity for the Queen but I am told some of my other work has found it’s way into the Royal Collection.”

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“I tend to like all the work I produce from the smallest medieval style miniature to the very grandest of coats of arms but yes I do have my favourites. I did a document for a member of the Royal Family in 2010 which ranks among them, also the Presentation scroll commissioned by the Templeton Prize and awarded to the Dalai Lama and more recently the equestrian figure of King Richard III commissioned by the Richard III Society which was poignant in light of the recent revelations in Leicester and last but not least the small medieval style illuminated manuscript book I did for the late Sir Paul Getty K.B.E.”



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Edited by Royal Central




  • Kycopswife678

    Great piece, can’t wait for more!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.macgoff Dennis O’Meskel MacGoff

    Andy’s work upholds the finest tradition one sees in the very best of the fine arts of heraldry and illuminated manuscripts and yet it is as fresh and creative as you’d expect from someone with an eye on how to move the traditional fine art of heraldry and illuminated manuscripts forward so that it will appeal to younger, newer audiences, while still upholding the best traditions of heraldry and illuminated manuscripts.

    • Royal Central

      Absolutely agree! Andrew always manages to produce wonderfully spectacular work!

  • J. Michael Dwyer

    I have wanted a painting of my arms by Andy Jamieson for years, and now I finally have one! There are many, many fine heraldic artists in the world, but there’s only one Andy Jamieson. His works are breathtaking and refreshing. I have admired his works in books over the years. All of the words I could use to describe his artwork would be terribly inadequate. He is the master!

  • http://www.facebook.com/candice.jamieson.5 Ce Jamieson

    The Jamieson Family is extremely proud of Andrew. Wonderful article. We look forward to following your new series.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jdouglaswelsh Doug Welsh

    I am privileged to own three Jamiesons, and each one shows the depth of talent this man brings to his work. He is a modest man for a national treasure, and should be so recognised.

  • Andrew Stewart Jamieson

    I would like to thank you for publishing the interview and showing some examples of my work. I very much enjoy this web site and look forward to reading further interviews with those associated with the Royal House of Windsor.

  • http://twitter.com/kejamieson Kate E Jamieson

    Obviously I’m not just saying this because it’s my father but his work is amazing, I have so much of it and it’s all beautiful :) No wonder the Queen wants him to work for her!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002111678159 Benoît Colombani

    A great job for a great artist !!! Hoping one day to have one of his piece of Art ! If you see his work you never forget it

  • http://www.facebook.com/cachambers007 Christopher Chambers

    I absolutely love his work and have several Jamiesons. His illuminations in gold on vellum are especially fine.

  • helhon

    “I am told some of my other work has
    found it’s way into the Royal Collection.” its!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/ce_jamieson The Jamieson Family

      A Collectors Plate commissioned by the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council. The plate was a limited edition of 500 plates to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth in 1985. The Queen has No. 1. It is in the Royal Collection. The rest sold within a week. The original artwork is in the Jamieson Family’s Private Collection.

  • http://www.facebook.com/poshea Patrick Michael O’Shea

    Mr. Jamieson is a rare talent, and has given a tremendous gift to the world by keeping alive the ancient art of heraldic illustration and manuscript illumination. He is the consummate craftsman, meticulous and brilliant.


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