London street artist Pegasus paints Coronation tribute in Highbury and Islington

·3-min read
Pegasus has unveiled a Sex Pistols Coronation tribute to the King  (Pegasus)
Pegasus has unveiled a Sex Pistols Coronation tribute to the King (Pegasus)

Prolific street artist Pegasus has given the King a “Sex Pistols twist” in his pop art Coronation tribute unveiled in north London.

The artwork, created over the course of three hours outside the N7 collective in Highbury and Islington, draws inspiration from the Sex Pistols’ original God Save The Queen artwork and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s crown motif.

The self-proclaimed “massive fan” of Eighties and Nineties pop art wanted to create “this new kind of pop icon in King Charles by adding that Basquiat touch”.

A young King is depicted wearing a pin earring and choker collar as a nod to London’s punk movement and the artist’s previous punk-based works of the late Queen.

With Pegasus newly signed to Clarendon Fine Art, and nine of his artworks already in their possession, the Coronation piece is expected to list “eventually” for about £4,750.

“With my previous images of the Queen, I’ve always wanted to make her look a bit edgy,” Chris Turner, AKA Pegasus, told the Standard.

“I wanted to always make her have a little punk feel, so that’s kind of like my aesthetic when I’m painting the royals.

“I wanted to carry that on to King Charles. By adding the choker and the earring as well, it just nods to punk London.”

The King is wearing a Basquiat-esque crown with the symbols of some of the world’s largest religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam, reflecting Charles’ pledge to be “the defender of all faiths”.  The crown also has a globe to reflect his sustainability efforts.

Harry and Meghan, left, and the King (Pegasus)
Harry and Meghan, left, and the King (Pegasus)

“Although I was trying to create this punk image I also wanted to put a little political message in there,” Mr Turner said.

“As we know, King Charles has always been very vocal about world religions coexisting together in peace and harmony, so that’s the reason for those three main religion symbols on his crown.

“And then the globe is just about how he is, in my eyes, the green King.”

The Union Flag was intentionally painted upside down to reflect the “distress in the ever posing question of the relevance of our monarchy in today’s society” and to highlight the challenges of the new King “in holding the commonwealth together”, Mr Turner said.

The artist will be “glued to the TV” on Saturday watching the Coronation procession and service.

“I just want to see the whole thing. Obviously I’ve never witnessed the Coronation before so this is historical for me. It’s very exciting.”

Mr Turner has painted a number of the royals before, including Queen Elizabeth II and a naked Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

With a lack of wall space for the painting, Mr Turner created the Harry and Meghan artwork on the back of a van and drove it around Buckingham Palace.

He said he was “almost arrested” for the stunt.

“At one point we got stopped and we were asked to get out of the van, they searched the back of the van and they were like, ‘Don’t come back here’. It was pretty scary,” he explained.

“There was no malice behind it anyway, it was all just kind of fun.”