Essex artist paints famous UK landmarks on coins to show ‘beauty’ of miniature

An Essex-based artist has painted scenes of famous British landmarks to the Mona Lisa on coins to showcase the “beauty” of miniature.

Yvonne Jack was exhibiting a mixture of art pieces at a pop-up gallery in Southend-on-Sea in March 2022, which soon led to her dabbling in painting on pre-decimal coins – coins struck before the change to decimal coinage in 1971.

“The woman that ran the pop-up gallery was doing an exhibition at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the new city of Southend-on-Sea and she said, ‘I’ve got these old coins, can you paint something on them for this exhibition?’” the 48-year-old who is based in Thundersley, Essex, told the PA news agency.

So far, Ms Jack has completed more than 50 paintings, which take a few hours to complete.

These include Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, as well as famous buildings including The Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Painted coins
Ms Jack has replicated famous paintings on coins (Yvonne Jack/PA)

“Then I start off with painting a very rough outline using very, very tiny brushes and go from there,” she explained.

“It’s a very enjoyable process, the discipline of painting that small.”

She posts her work to TikTok and Instagram and draws inspiration from followers’ suggestions or places she has visited.

Woman holding coin up
A Mullion Cove coin at Mullion Cave in Cornwall (Yvonne Jack/PA)

“That’s the beauty of these coins and with all miniature paintings, they’re portable, you can take them with you.”

She said while she has loved working on all the coins, she has a particular fondness for one of Flatford Mill in Suffolk.

“When I was a child, my mum had this painting of it on our lounge wall and when I look at it, it just takes you back there,” she added.

Woman holding up coin
Ms Jack’s first painted coin featured Darth Vader (PA)

She added: “I always paint better when it’s a subject I enjoy and there have been some that have been horrendous, but I think that is the case with everything.”

She said the most popular comment she gets from social media followers is ‘oh my God, how can you do that?’

Coin in a case
Tower Bridge on a coin (Yvonne Jack/PA)

“There have been plenty of times when I have just ended up scraping the whole lot off and starting again,” she said.

Coin in case
St Paul’s Cathedral on a coin (Yvonne Jack/PA)

“I’d never realised there were things like the Royal Miniature Society and just to meet these like-minded people who loved miniature was great and it spurs you on to go home and make things that are even more detailed,” she said.

Houses of Parliament painted on coin
A coin featuring the Houses of Parliament (Yvonne Jack/PA)

“The deadline for this year’s exhibition is April 29,” she said.

“I’m going to enter the Mona Lisa, (Joseph Mallord William) Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire, Tate St Ives and a pocket-size The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.

“For the fifth one, I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet but I’m thinking possibly a portrait of someone.”

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