London, June 4 (Reuters): Britain’s Royal Mail is threatening to sue an art gallery for displaying three prints of Queen Elizabeth wearing a gas mask— works which the artist says he created in response to the war in Iraq.
The Royal Mail said the gallery was breaking copyright laws by using a portrait of the Queen which the mail has used on its postage stamps for over 30 years. “We have been in touch with a gallery and pointed out that this is our intellectual property and we have not given permission for it to be used,” a spokesman said.
The three prints each show a profile of the Queen’s head with a gas mask strapped to it. The straps of the mask are tucked under the monarch’s crown.
The edges of the prints are serrated to make them look like stamps, and they have “1st”, “2nd” and “3rd” written on them in reference to the priority system used by the Royal Mail. The prints are in different colours, like stamps.