Chinese sculptor Chen Dapeng's bust of Queen Elizabeth II
London - AFP
Queen Elizabeth II or American actor Tom Hanks? A new porcelain bust of the British monarch based on a confectionary box really takes the biscuit for some art critics.
Celebrated Chinese sculptor Chen Dapeng made the 20-kilogramme (44-pound) artwork -- the biggest piece of Chinese porcelain ever made -- which will be offered to the queen as a gift.
The bust, apparently based on an image of the Queen embossed on a tin of biscuits, took three months and 12 tries by a dozen technicians to fire before a lucky 13th attempt held together.
The strong-jawed, broad-nosed bust was unveiled at London's Winter Olympia Art and Antiques Fair, catching the eye of the Daily Telegraph's art critic Mark Hudson, who described the work as "rather out of proportion" and "looking a bit like Tom Hanks".
But Chen's agent in Britain, Paul Harris, hit back at critics, inviting them to come and see the bust for themselves, and pointing out that "you'd never see Tom Hanks wearing a gold crown".
Harris admitted that Chen relied mostly on the biscuit tin to fashion the Queen, first out of clay and then Chinese porcelain.
"We provided (Chen) with video, pictures, photos and, bizarrely, as I was going out to China in June to see him, I bought at Heathrow airport a very nice box of biscuits, which had a two-dimensional image of the Queen embossed on it in," Harris told AFP.
"I think it was a Harrods biscuit tin, and Chen thought that it was the best thing to work from," he said.
Chen himself said: "I can see that your British Queen is a remarkable and wonderful person who has served the British people well.
"As an artist, I can see the wisdom and kindness in her features."
Harris said the reported likeness to Tom Hanks had brought the bust and Chen a great deal of welcome international attention, which they were enjoying "enormously".
The event organisers too have capitalised on the similarity, calling on people to come to the event to see the bust and "judge for yourself".