The Princess Royal chooses “Sanctuary” tortoise design to mark 50 years of patronage

HRH The Princess Royal hosted a reception at St James’s Palace on 12 October to celebrate her 50th anniversary of patronage for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. To mark the occasion Durrell is gifting Her Royal Highness a tortoise sculpture from the much-anticipated Tortoise Takeover art trail, which will take over Jersey next summer.

A selection of artists were invited to submit their tortoise designs to reflect The Princess’s commitment to the Trust over the past 50 years. The ten designs were displayed during the reception, where HRH met the artists as well as donors and supporters of Durrell, many of whom had bought a sculpture from the Go Wild Gorilla auction in 2019.

The design chosen by HRH titled “Sanctuary”, was submitted by Jersey artist Gabriella Street and was inspired by The Princess Royal herself. It featured colours that were exact swatches pulled from photographs of The Princess Royal’s past and present fashion, alongside flora and fauna specific to her many trips to Durrell projects and Jersey Zoo.

Gabriella And HRH

The design will be commissioned to join 50 giant tortoises on the trail in Jersey during July and August 2023. Once the trail is over, the sculpture will be gifted to The Princess Royal as a token of Durrell’s appreciation for her commitment over the past 50 years.

Commenting on being chosen to create the giant tortoise sculpture for HRH, Gabriella said: “It is such an honour to be chosen by The Princess Royal to design a tortoise inspired by her patronage to Durrell. The dedication and passion HRH has shown over the past 50 years is what sparked the inspiration behind my design. I feel very privileged to have this opportunity and am excited to start painting my tortoise.”

Durrell’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lesley Dickie, commented: “It feels fitting that we celebrate the Princess Royal’s 50th anniversary of patronage, by commissioning a sculpture inspired by her work. Gabriella’s design beautifully captured HRH’s passion and dedication to conservation, whilst also playfully giving a nod to The Princess Royal herself. We are looking forward to seeing the finalised sculpture next year and know it will be a real highlight of the trail next summer.”

The Tortoise Takeover will go live on Saturday 1 July 2023 and will run until the end of August 2023.