British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

Snowdon has given 130 original prints of some of his most iconic photographs to the National Portrait Gallery, London. Several of them will be shown at the gallery for the first time in an important display this autumn.

Coinciding with a new monograph published by Rizzoli, Snowdon: A Life in View (26 Sep 2014-21 Jun 2015), will highlight studio portraits from the 1950s to the 1990s, alongside selections from Private View Snowdon’s important 1965 examination of the British art world created in collaboration with art critic John Russell and Bryan Robertson, then director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

Curated from a major gift to the Gallery in 2013, in close consultation with the photographer’s daughter Frances von Hofmannsthal, the display includes over 40 black-and-white portraits taken throughout his expansive and influential career.

When he started photographing in the early 1950s Snowdon focused on theatre, fashion, and society subjects, and began a six-decade career with British Vogue. In 1960, he married Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, in the first globally televised royal wedding. In the early 1960s Snowdon worked with The Sunday Times Magazine on a range of documentary subjects from mental health to loneliness.

Since then Snowdon has photographed a vast range of cultural figures and the display includes portraits of actors such as Maggie Smith, John Hurt, Alan Bates, Julie Christie and Laurence Olivier, writers such as Nell Dunn, Agatha Christie, Kingsley Amis, Elizabeth Jane Howard and Graham Greene and musicians and dancers such as Yehudi Menuhin, George Melly, Anthony Dowell and Margot Fonteyn. Figures from the art world include Anthony Blunt, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, William Coldstream, Kenneth Clarke and John Piper. A selection of portraits of the Royal Family from the 1950s is also included.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘The National Portrait Gallery is delighted that Lord Snowdon should have made such a generous further gift of prints to the collection. These are wonderful portrait images of some most creative and engaging contributors to Britain in the second half of the 20th century.

This display which is curated by Helen Trompeteler, the National Portrait Gallery’s Assistant Curator of Photographs, will celebrate the major gift of Snowdon photographs acquired in 2013. The Snowdon archive website:

Snowdon: A Life in View, National Portrait Gallery, 26 Sep 2014-21 Jun 2015, admission free. Room 37 and 37a, Ground Floor Lerner Contemporary Galleries

Image: David Bowie by Snowdon, 1978

- See more at:

Views: 336

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of British photographic history to add comments!

Join British photographic history

© 2019   Created by Michael Pritchard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service