Artist captures ‘solemn cheerfulness’ of the queue to see Queen’s coffin

·2-min read
Freelance illustrator Gracie Dahl, who drew the queue in London on her way home (Gracie Dahl/PA)
Freelance illustrator Gracie Dahl, who drew the queue in London on her way home (Gracie Dahl/PA)

A freelance illustrator who was struck by the “impressive yet mundane sight” of the queue to see the Queen’s coffin has captured it on paper.

The line stretching for miles through London has taken on a life of its own, with people waiting for hours to pay their respects.

Gracie Dahl, 23, a freelance illustrator from south London, said she was on her way home when she realised she would pass the queue.

Freelance illustrator Gracie Dahl drew the queue in London on her way home (Gracie Dahl)
Freelance illustrator Gracie Dahl drew the queue in London on her way home (Gracie Dahl)

“I had my sketchbook with me. Once I saw it, I realised it was such an impressive yet mundane sight I really wanted to try and capture it with pencil,” she told the PA news agency.

“I didn’t want to take part, but also didn’t want to let such a big event completely pass me by, so drawing seemed like the best way to form memories of the occasion.

“I was kind of gobsmacked by how big it was. I’d seen the maps, so thought I knew, but it really extended further than you could see.

“I was also quite surprised by how cheerful people in the queue were, considering some of them had been stood in the cold for over 10 hours.

“I think the buskers, screens showing old footage and food stalls helped that.”

Freelance illustrator Gracie Dahl drew the queue in London on her way home (Gracie Dahl)
Freelance illustrator Gracie Dahl drew the queue in London on her way home (Gracie Dahl)

Ms Dahl shared her finished works on Twitter on Saturday, writing: “Yesterday evening, I went to see #thequeue #queueforthequeen.

“I didn’t join it but found observing fascinating – it is a massive, massive queue. Full of people. Thousands of people standing in one line. For miles and hours.

“Here are some drawings I did to process it all.”

The finished works show the queue and its participants in orange, blue, green and red, with London’s landmarks, such as Big Ben, in the background.

People remained undeterred by low temperatures on Saturday as they queued to see the Queen lying in state, amid warnings of a 24-hour wait and Government advice not to travel.

Freelance illustrator Gracie Dahl, who drew the queue in London on her way home (Gracie Dahl)
Freelance illustrator Gracie Dahl, who drew the queue in London on her way home (Gracie Dahl)

Ms Dahl walked the route from Blackfriars Station to Lambeth Bridge, capturing a number of different locations over the course of about an hour and a half as people continued to wait.

“Drawing crowds is always a challenge, and the queue occasionally moved faster than I could capture it, but I love drawing on site and it was such an interesting subject matter,” she said.

“I think they capture the mood, of kind of solemn cheerfulness, pretty well.”

To find out more about Ms Dahl’s work and depictions of the queue, visit www.graciedahl.com.