Disclosure: although this blog post is not part of the agreed paid content (it was too good to not share, especially with those of you unable to visit before the trail ended), we recently worked with London HQ (the collective of Northbank, Victoria, Victoria Westminster and Whitehall BIDs - Business Improvement Districts) to promote the corgi trail on social media.
The sculptures are currently auctioned off (internationally) for charity* so now is your chance to buy one of these stunning pieces of art for a good cause! The auction ends on Friday, Sept. 30th at 11pm UK BST. Click HERE to find out more.
Throughout her 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II owned more than 30 Pembroke Welsh corgis. Her Majesty was the longest standing breeder in the country, as all 14 generations of her corgis (up to 2018) were descended from the first corgi of her own, Susan.
A "corgi sculpture trail" was on display in Central London from end May until end August 2022 to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee. Starting on Elizabeth Street in Belgravia and ending on Strand, it featured 19 corgi sculptures designed by contemporary artists and named after some of the Queen's beloved corgi dogs.
Early June 2022, over a few days, we set on a mission to "pass by" and photographed all 19 statues for you... so whether you couldn't see them in person or just can't get enough of them... here they are :)
We also stopped on the way for refreshments or food at the many eateries and hotels welcoming dogs and their well-behaved owners in the area. Here are the corgis' stories**...
At the heart of Belgravia, on Elizabeth Street, stood the 1st corgi of the trail: Honey. The year after The Queen gave birth to King Charles III, Susan - the 1st first corgi she owned - gave birth to two puppies, including Honey. She was known for being feisty and biting a pair of trousers of two. She belonged to the Queen Mother.
The sculpture was designed by Olivia Brotheridge, an illustrator who also designed the official map for the corgi trail. Olivia said of the design: "London is my home and a place I love to draw, as I created the Corgi trail map I chose to decorate my Corgi with a mappy design inspired by that, celebrating the sights and delights of London.”
Meet Holly, the 2nd corgi of the trail! Unlike Marcel, she was not a fan of being photographed. Despite this, Holly was one of the corgis who featured alongside the Queen in the famous James Bond sketch in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, starring fellow royal corgis Monty and Willow.
For this sculpture, Holly Holder was inspired by Dendrochronology, the method of determining the age of a tree through the study of its rings. It gestures at longevity by reinterpreting the colours of the Union Jack through the patterns found in wood grain.
Located inside Victoria train station, corgi 3 was Dookie, the very first of many Pembroke Welsh corgis owned by the Royal Family when the Queen was just 7 years old. She and Princess Margaret had visited friends who had corgis and asked to get one. His name is believed to have come from the kennel maids: he refused to eat from the same bowls as his siblings so they started to call him "The Duke" which eventually became Dookie.
Kirsty Langston and Brittany Abbott took inspiration in the Platinum Jubilee colour for this corgi and gave the design a modern, fun and energetic twist, with freehand doodles.
Heather was a girl born from Honey's litter, great granddaughter of Susan and mother to Foxy and Tiny.
Olivia Clarke's corgi was inspired by the parakeets that can be seen in the parks of Windsor and London. The use of the colour emerald green is a nod to the musical Wicked, the sponsor of the sculpture.
Sugar was littermate to Honey and was also born to Susan, the year after the Queen gave birth to King Charles III. She was the nursery companion animal of the King and Princess Anne.
To design Sugar, Soul'D was inspired by the Butterfly Effect - the notion of "how your actions and words can create a knock-on effect. Expanding kindness outwards." It offers a gentle reminder to be kind to others, see the world through rainbow eyes and watch how the world changes around you.
Susan was Queen Elizabeth II's first corgi of her own, gifted to her on her 18th Birthday. The red and white corgi was the Queen's constant companion during World War 2. She went everywhere with her, even on her and Prince Philip's wedding coach (hidden under a rug on the carriage floor), and their honeymoon. 14 generations of corgis were descended from Susan.
Given that this corgi was placed in a traditional area, artist Miya Tsuruda-Behan chose to base her design on a traditional Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Willow, the 7th corgi of the trail, was the last of Susan's descendants and therefore the last canine link to the Queen's parents, leaving her particularly upset by her loss in 2018. She is buried in Windsor Castle.
HannDrawn (real name Hannah Sykes) has a passion for painting floral and botanical art and wanted to use her floral style combined with the love story of the Queen and Prince Philip (whose nickname for the Queen was Cabbage). The corgi feature cabbage flowers to portray this love story with love messages in calligraphy showing their devotion to one another with other nicknames they had for each other.
This is Muick, one of the two corgis left behind when the Queen sadly passed away. He had been gifted to her by family members who will now care for him and his "brofur". He was named after one of Her Majesty's favourite beauty spots near Balmoral in Scotland: Loch Muick.
This design by Lisa Todd is a smaller version of the lion "Mr Rainbow" created as part of the trail curated by Lisa for her Lions of Windsor project to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birthday.
When the trail was on display in London, corgi number 9, Fergus, stood proudly in the courtyard of The Guards Museum. The "dorgi" (a cross between a corgi and a dachshund) the statue was named after was named after Fergus Bowes-Lyon, the Queen's maternal uncle who died in France during WW1. He sadly died of a heart problem aged just 5 months in 2021.
Alice Esme Greenacre's design of a traditional red and white Pembroke Welsh corgi is reflective of the traditions of the surroundings where it was placed on the trail (Wellington Barracks).
Carol, was given her name after she was born on Christmas Eve to Lady Jane, the second corgi bought by the Royal Family when the Queen was a child.
Artist Jurga Amehome was inspired by peace and unity when designing Carol.
Tiny was from a new litter from a kennel in Sussex, differing from the Queen's previous corgis. Following an "unplanned liaison" between Tiny and Princess Margaret's dachshund Pipkin, a litter of "dorgis" was born (from which the Queen kept Pickles and Tinker).
Alex Cullen was inspired by playful, psychedelic and abstract shapes and forms merging to create visually engaging colourscapes that have a tendency towards the natural, rocks, roots, mountains, clouds and cacti.
The 12th corgi sculpture on the trail, Sherry, was located outside dog-friendly St. Ermin's Hotel. Both Sherry and Whisky were given to the then Prince Charles and Princess Anne for Christmas presents and were believed to be named after some of the royal household's favourite tipples.
Dominika Karc's project is a geometric abstraction inspired by British artist Bridget Riley, who represented Op Art. She has created a red, white, black and grey composition. Red is a symbol of energy and passion, the colour that catches the most attention and dominates design.
Whisky was located in the lobby of another dog-friendly hotel. Like Sherry he was a Christmas present to the Queen's children and believed to be named after a favourite tipple of the royal household.
The very patriotic corgi sculpture was designed by Aga Skiba.
Jane, the 14th corgi of the trail, stood opposite Westminster Abbey. Jane was originally chosen to be Dookie's mate but in the end they were only destined to be friends. Like Crackers, her daughter, Jane accompanied the young princesses to Windsor Castle during WW2.
Rowana Mallett took inspiration from the places Her Majesty visited during her reign, with abstract shapes referencing those locations. It has a jacket made of 7 stripes, one for each decade of her reign, and colours inspired by the her bright outfits.
Emma Moondust, corgi 15 on the trail, produced a litter that included Linnet.
Rebecca Hardaker's design plays homage to the Queen's relationship with flowers during her reign. A universal symbol of love, respect and loyalty, the vibrancy of colour and variety of shapes of flowers makes them the perfect visual to draw upon when celebrating not only the Queen's long standing love affair with the Corgi, but also the Queen and her dedication to the Crown.
Crackers is also believed to have been named after being born on Christmas Eve. Crackers also accompanied the then princesses Elizabeth and Margaret to Windsor Castle during WW2.
Berengere Ducoms' inspiration for the corgi started with the Queen's famous bright outfits that made her stand out in any crowd, as well as by the Commonwealth - drawing on some of their visual languages.
Born in 2000, Linnet was the dam of the last litter of corgis the Queen ever bred. Linnet was said to be fond of bagpipes and would often follow the Queen's bagpiper around.
Through the pandemic the rainbow became a symbol of hope and thanks for the NHS. Jeremy Clarke's rainbows are painted for all people, all races and creeds who support others through difficult times. He hopes they raise a smile and lighten the mood.
Sandy was the most recent addition to the royal corgis, brought to keep company to Muick in June 2021.
The inspiration behind Sophie Malpas' design has come from a recent series of work titled “Finding Joy”. The series centres around themes of play, intuition and colours that cultivate feelings of happiness. With her design Sophie wanted to incorporate colours to represent the united feelings of joy in celebration of the Queen's jubilee.
The final corgi sculpture on the trail was named after Monty, who initially belonged to the Queen Mother and was one of the canine starts of the Queen's James Bond sketch in the 2012 Olympics.
It wouldn't be a Jubilee without bunting, so Alison Salter thought it would be fitting to decorate Monty with it. There are 70 flags in total, one for each year of the Queen's reign, decorated with illustrations pertaining to the Queen on one continuous string of bunting.
We hope you enjoyed le tour! Which of the sculptures is your favourite and why? Let us know in the comments or on social media!
* The charities that will benefit from the auction are: The Passage, Only A Pavement Away, Railway Children, End Youth Homelessness, Shelter, Crisis, The Big Issue Foundation, Groundwork, The Cardinal Hume Centre, Social Bite, The Connections.
** Please note the information about the royal corgis names and anecdotes is collated from several online and print sources and cannot be quoted as factual.