Susannah Blunt, born in Harbin, China, is a distinguished Canadian portrait artist whose brush strokes have left an indelible mark on the nation’s numismatic landscape. Beyond her artistic prowess, Susannah’s life story unfolds as a compelling narrative of talent, education, and familial connections.
Among her many accomplishments, Susannah’s crowning achievement lies in the iconic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II adorning the current Canadian coinage. Her artistic finesse, honed through years of dedicated study and a rich teaching career, culminated in winning a nationwide competition held by the Royal Canadian Mint. Since its debut in 2003, her rendition of the Queen has graced Canadian coins and currency, becoming a symbol of artistic excellence and national identity.
As we delve into Susannah Blunt’s journey, it becomes evident that her impact extends far beyond the metallic canvas of coins, painting a portrait of a multifaceted artist and individual.
Susannah Blunt Wiki Bio
|Susannah Rachel Lynn Blunt
|Sister of Emily Blunt
|34 years old as of 2023
|Date of birth
|Place of Birth
|Felicity Blunt, Emily Blunt,
|Joanna Mackie, Oliver Simon Peter Blunt
Early Life and Education of Susannah Blunt
Birth in Harbin, China
Susannah Blunt’s journey begins in the vibrant city of Harbin, China, where she was born. This international origin sets the stage for a life that would span continents and leave an artistic legacy.
Family Background (Daughter of an English Banker)
As the daughter of an English banker, Susannah was born into a family that not only valued financial acumen but also harboured a deep appreciation for the arts. This unique blend of influences played a crucial role in shaping her early aspirations and artistic inclinations.
Art Education Journey
Susannah’s pursuit of artistic excellence took her through a remarkable educational odyssey.
- Banff School of Fine Arts: At a young age, Susannah embarked on her artistic journey at the Banff School of Fine Arts. This early exposure to the world of fine arts laid the groundwork for her future endeavours.
- Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting: Continuing her quest for artistic mastery, Susannah spent four transformative years at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting in Kensington, London. This period she marked a crucial phase in her artistic development, setting the stage for the awards and recognition that would follow.
- Royal Academy: The pursuit of excellence led Susannah to the prestigious Royal Academy, where she not only honed her skills but also garnered accolades and a silver medal. The Royal Academy became a crucible for her artistic talents, shaping her into the accomplished artist she would become.
- First One-Woman Show in Calgary, Alberta in 1966: A pivotal moment in Susannah’s early career came in 1966 when, just before graduating, she held her first one-woman show at the now-defunct Canadian Art Gallery in Calgary, Alberta. This exhibition not only marked a personal milestone but also foreshadowed the artistic prowess that would later catch the attention of art enthusiasts and institutions alike.
Collaboration with Yoko Ono and David Hockney
Following her formative years of education, Susannah Blunt’s journey took an intriguing turn as she collaborated with avant-garde artist Yoko Ono. This collaboration extended to various art projects, showcasing Susannah’s ability to seamlessly integrate her artistic vision with the experimental and boundary-pushing endeavours of her contemporaries. Notably, she also worked alongside David Hockney, a luminary in the world of contemporary art, further enriching her artistic perspective.
Teaching in California and Vancouver
Venturing across borders, Susannah’s path led her to California, where she embarked on a fulfilling teaching career. For three transformative years, she immersed herself in the vibrant art scene of the San Francisco Bay area, contributing not only to her students’ education but also deepening her own artistic insights. Her dedication to education extended back to Vancouver, where she continued to impart her knowledge in both private and public institutions. This dual experience in two distinct artistic landscapes played a crucial role in shaping her pedagogical approach.
Faculty at the University of British Columbia
The pinnacle of Susannah Blunt’s teaching career saw her joining the esteemed faculty of the Fine Arts Department at the University of British Columbia. Here, she not only shared her wealth of artistic knowledge with aspiring artists but also contributed to the academic and creative atmosphere of the institution.
Artwork and Achievements
Susannah Blunt’s artistic repertoire is distinguished by her mastery of trompe-l’œil paintings. Her skill in creating optical illusions on canvas showcases a deep understanding of visual perception, adding a layer of intrigue to her body of work. These paintings, characterized by their illusionary realism, stand as a testament to Susannah’s technical prowess and innovative artistic approach.
Design of the Optical Illusion Room for the Science World Museum
In 1988, Susannah Blunt left an indelible mark on the Science World Museum in Vancouver by designing an optical illusion room. This immersive installation captivated visitors, showcasing her ability to transcend traditional artistic mediums and engage audiences in a dynamic, interactive experience. The optical illusion room stands as a testament to Susannah’s versatility and her commitment to pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.
International Art Shows and Awards
Susannah’s artistic journey extended beyond borders, with significant participation in international art shows between 1991 and 1992. Her works, both in group and solo exhibitions, garnered acclaim and recognition. Notably, she secured awards in an international competition, solidifying her status as an artist of international repute.
Portraits of Notable Figures
Susannah Blunt’s canvas became a tapestry of faces, capturing the essence of notable individuals from various fields.
- Toni Onley (Painter, Vancouver): Susannah’s brush immortalized the persona of Toni Onley, a distinguished painter from Vancouver. The portrait not only celebrated Onley’s contributions to the art world but also showcased Susannah’s ability to capture the essence of fellow artists.
- George Woodcock (Author, Vancouver): The literary realm found a place on Susannah’s canvas with the portrait of George Woodcock, an esteemed author from Vancouver. Through her art, Susannah paid homage to Woodcock’s literary legacy.
- Stanley Donen (Film Producer, Los Angeles): Hollywood’s glamour entered Susannah’s portfolio with the portrait of Stanley Donen, a renowned film producer from Los Angeles. This intersection of art and cinema highlighted Susannah’s ability to transcend mediums and capture the essence of cinematic luminaries.
- Steven Isserlis (Cellist, London): Susannah’s artistic gaze extended to the world of music with the portrayal of Steven Isserlis, a distinguished cellist from London. The intersection of visual and auditory arts found expression in this captivating portrait.
- Gerda Hnatyshyn (Portrait for Rideau Hall): Selected through a nationwide competition by Gerda Hnatyshyn, wife of Governor-General of Canada Ramon Hnatyshyn, Susannah painted a portrait for Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario. This prestigious commission underscored Susannah’s standing in the Canadian artistic landscape.
- Portrait of Prince Edward for Buckingham Palace: In 1997, Susannah delivered a portrait of Prince Edward to Buckingham Palace, adding a regal touch to her portfolio. This royal commission showcased Susannah’s ability to capture the dignified presence of royalty on canvas.
Canadian Coin Portrait Competition
Invitation by the Royal Canadian Mint
Susannah Blunt’s artistic journey reached a pinnacle when she received a coveted invitation from the Royal Canadian Mint. Recognizing her distinguished body of work, particularly her portraiture skills showcased in the Hnatyshyn portrait, the Mint enlisted Susannah to participate in a nationwide competition. This invitation marked a pivotal moment in her career, opening the door to a commission that would leave a lasting imprint on Canadian numismatics.
Creation of the Queen Elizabeth II Portrait
Armed with her artistic prowess, Susannah Blunt embarked on the task of crafting a new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II for Canadian coinage. Drawing inspiration from a photograph of the Queen, Susannah’s brushstrokes breathed life into a regal and timeless representation. The meticulous attention to detail and the ability to capture the monarch’s essence solidified Susannah’s victory in the competition.
Continuous Use on Canadian Coins and Currency Since 2003
The culmination of the competition was not just a singular moment but the initiation of a lasting legacy. Since 2003, Susannah Blunt’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II has graced Canadian coins and currency. Her design, a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity, became an enduring symbol embedded in the daily lives of Canadians.
Relationship with Hollywood Actress Emily Blunt
Susannah Blunt’s life is intricately woven into the tapestry of Hollywood glamour through her familial ties, particularly her relationship with the acclaimed actress Emily Blunt. As sisters, they share a bond that transcends artistic mediums, each carving their unique niche in the world of creativity. Emily’s rise to stardom in films like “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Sicario,” “Edge of Tomorrow,” and “A Quiet Place” adds a layer of cinematic brilliance to the family legacy.
The Blunt family history is a canvas painted with diverse achievements, encompassing military, business, politics, and the arts.
- Grandfather’s Military and Business Achievements: Susannah Blunt’s lineage includes Major-General Peter John Blunt, CB, MBE, GM, a distinguished British Army officer and businessman. Major-General Blunt’s gallantry during the Second World War earned him the George Medal in 1959, a testament to his commitment to duty and bravery. Beyond military service, he also contributed to the business world as a director of Associated Newspapers.
- Uncle Crispin Blunt’s Political Career: The family’s involvement in public service extends to Susannah’s uncle, Crispin Blunt. A Member of Parliament (MP) for Reigate since 1997, Crispin served as a member of the Conservative Party. His announcement to stand down at the next general election in 2022 marked the conclusion of a noteworthy political career, adding a political dimension to the family’s legacy of service and achievement.
Susannah Blunt’s Profession and Passions
1. Graduation from Bristol Veterinary School: Beyond her artistic endeavours, Susannah Blunt has embraced a fulfilling career in veterinary medicine. Her academic journey led her to the prestigious Bristol Veterinary School, where she honed her skills and graduated with a solid foundation in veterinary science.
2. Current Position at Aspen Vets/Ewell Veterinary Centre: As of the latest information, Susannah Blunt holds a position as a Veterinary Surgeon at Aspen Vets/Ewell Veterinary Centre. Her contributions to the field reflect not only her commitment to animal welfare but also her dedication to the practical application of her veterinary expertise.
Interests in Ultrasound and Medicine Workups
Susannah’s passion for veterinary medicine extends beyond routine care. Her specific interests include ultrasound diagnostics and thorough medicine workups. This specialized focus showcases her commitment to staying at the forefront of veterinary practices, ensuring comprehensive and advanced care for her animal patients.
Talents Beyond Veterinary Work (Opera Singing)
In addition to her successful veterinary career, Susannah Blunt possesses a hidden talent – she is noted as “an incredible opera singer.” This revelation adds a layer of artistic diversity to her profile, demonstrating that her creative spirit transcends not only visual arts but also the auditory realm of opera.
Relationships and Connections with Family Members
Susannah’s personal and professional life is intricately interwoven with her family. Her connection with Hollywood actress Emily Blunt is not just a familial tie but also a shared experience in the realm of artistic expression. The two sisters even showcased their vocal talents at their elder sister Felicity’s wedding, creating a harmonious blend of familial bonds and artistic collaboration.
Father’s Prominent Career as a Barrister
Susannah Blunt hails from a family with a legacy of professional distinction, and her father, Oliver Simon Peter Blunt, QC, exemplifies this tradition. As a prominent barrister, he stands as one of the highest-profile legal practitioners in the United Kingdom. Oliver’s legal acumen and contributions to the field underscore the family’s commitment to excellence in their respective pursuits.
Mother’s Transition from Acting to Teaching
The Blunt family’s narrative includes the transformative journey of Susannah’s mother, Joanna Blunt. Initially pursuing a career in acting, Joanna transitioned to the noble profession of teaching after starting a family. This shift reflects not only her adaptability but also her commitment to nurturing the minds of the next generation. Joanna’s journey embodies the theme of reinvention, a characteristic that seems to resonate across generations in the Blunt family.
Brother Sebastian’s Involvement in Acting
The thread of artistic expression runs deep within the Blunt family, extending to Susannah’s brother, Sebastian. Following in the footsteps of his mother and Hollywood star sister, Sebastian Blunt has ventured into the world of acting. His involvement in notable films like “Edge of Tomorrow” and Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” showcases the family’s shared passion for the cinematic arts. The Blunt siblings, each carving their unique path in the entertainment industry, contribute to the family’s collective impact on the world of arts and culture.
Eldest Sister Felicity’s Career
Literary Agent at Curtis Brown
Felicity Blunt, Susannah Blunt’s eldest sister, has made her mark in the world of literature as a literary agent at Curtis Brown. Serving as a literary agent involves a keen eye for talent and a deep understanding of the literary landscape. Felicity’s role at Curtis Brown places her in a pivotal position where she represents authors and their works, facilitating the journey of unique stories and voices into the realm of publishing houses and production companies.
Marriage to Actor Stanley Tucci
Beyond her professional achievements, Felicity Blunt’s personal life has been touched by a bit of Hollywood glamour. She is married to the renowned actor Stanley Tucci. The union of Felicity, with her literary acumen, and Stanley, with his acting prowess, creates a fascinating blend of creative energies within the family. This marriage to a celebrated figure in the entertainment industry adds a layer of cultural richness to the Blunt family legacy.
Private Life of Susannah Blunt
Privacy Regarding Personal Life
Susannah Blunt, despite her notable accomplishments in the fields of art and veterinary medicine, is known for maintaining a private and reserved personal life. Her preference for privacy extends beyond the public spotlight, reflecting a deliberate choice to keep certain aspects of her personal affairs shielded from public scrutiny.
Uncertainty about Marriage or Serious Relationships
Details about Susannah Blunt’s romantic life remain undisclosed, and she has successfully navigated the delicate balance of maintaining personal boundaries. As of the latest information available, there is uncertainty about Susannah’s marital status or involvement in serious relationships. Her commitment to privacy leaves ample room for speculation, emphasizing her desire to keep elements of her personal life beyond the reach of public curiosity.
Recap of Susannah Blunt’s Multifaceted Life and Achievements
Susannah Blunt’s life unfolds as a captivating narrative woven with threads of artistic brilliance, academic excellence, and familial connections. From her early days at the Banff School of Fine Arts to the prestigious halls of the Royal Academy, Susannah’s journey through the world of art is marked by milestones and accolades.
Her teaching career, collaborations with artistic visionaries like Yoko Ono, and participation in international art shows showcase her dedication to artistic expression and the nurturing of emerging talents. The design of the Queen Elizabeth II portrait for Canadian coinage stands as a crowning achievement, symbolizing not only her artistic prowess but also her enduring impact on national identity.
Emphasis on Her Contributions Beyond Coin Design
While Susannah Blunt’s name is etched in Canadian numismatic history through her iconic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, it is essential to recognize that her contributions extend far beyond the metallic canvas of coins. Her trompe-l’œil paintings, the design of the optical illusion room for the Science World museum, and her portraiture of notable figures demonstrate a versatility that transcends traditional artistic boundaries.
The Blunt family’s rich background in law, entertainment, literature, and military service further enriches the narrative, showcasing a family that has left an indelible mark across diverse fields.
Susannah’s private life, marked by a deliberate choice for privacy, adds a layer of mystery to her story, emphasizing her commitment to keeping certain aspects of her life beyond public scrutiny. In essence, Susannah Blunt emerges not only as a portrait artist but as a multifaceted individual whose influence spans the realms of art, academia, and family.