South Devon artist's hat is a smash at Royal Ascot
A Westcountry artist who painted a highly acclaimed portrait of the Queen to mark the Diamond Jubilee has been the toast of Royal Ascot this week after creating a spectacular Ladies Day hat.
Louise Dear, from Totnes, is well-known for her vibrant canvases, including one of the young monarch, which went on show in London to mark her 60-year reign.
Visitors to Royal Ascot, an event well accustomed to striking designs, were stopped in their tracks by the sight – and smell – of Louise's 3ft creation. Based on a self portrait, it was made by milliner Hayley Marsden.
Louise used her experiences in India for the design of the Ascot hat, which was commissioned by Castle Galleries. She said the extravagance of the sub-continent contributed to the colour scheme of pink and yellow fabrics embellished with jewels. It also incorporated native herbs and flowers which emitted fragrant scents.
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"Love, passion and romance were all a big influence on this piece," she said. "I wanted to convey the divine exuberance of being a woman and it seemed fitting to unveil the hat on Ladies Day."