The photography of Angus McBean encompasses more than three decades of the history of British theatre. His work includes some of the most memorable theatre productions of the Old Vic Company and what is now the Royal Shakespeare Company; opera productions at Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; ballet from Sadler's Wells; and West End productions of plays and musicals. He was a favourite photographer of Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, and Edith Evans. He photographed countless plays starring the likes of John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, and Alec Guinness, not to mention young stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor.
'My kind of theatre concerns itself with kings and queens, princesses sleeping or otherwise in ivory towers, or in enchanted castles with satins, furs and cloths of gold...There must be huge splashes of colour, wild music, beautiful people, monstrous Calibans; magic, imagination, illusion, fairies, oceans of blood and wine, and always happy endings...'. So wrote Angus McBean of the theatre for which he was the court photographer for nearly thirty years, the London stage from the 1930s to the 1960s that encompassed legendary productions of Shakespeare, Congreve, Shaw,Wilde and Coward, the operas of Benjamin Britten, and the beginnings of the Royal Ballet and the Royal National Theatre. Blending wit, drama and fantasy with the consummate skill of a master practitioner, McBean was undoubtedly one of the greats of theatrical, creative and commercial photography. The best of his theatrical portraits, in which he immortalized the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness, are superbly reproduced here in this sumptuous volume, which will be snapped up by anyone with an interest in British theatre, photography and surrealism.
Angus McBean (1904-90), Britain's most influential photographer of the mid-20th century, was imprisoned during WWII for his homosexuality but came back to regain worldwide renown. His "surreal" and romantic portraiture is imitated worldwide in fashion images and pop videos.Now Adrian Woodhouse--an expert on McBean--tells the authoritative story of McBean's dramatic life, including his intimate revelations about his famous sitters, from Vivien Leigh to The Beatles.
Josephine Tey was the pen-name of Elizabeth MacKintosh (1896-1952). Born in Inverness, MacKintosh lived several ‘lives’: best known as Golden Age Crime Fiction writer ‘Josephine Tey’, she was also successful novelist and playwright ‘Gordon Daviot’. At one point, she had plays on simultaneously in the West End in London and on Broadway, and even wrote for Hollywood - all from her home in the north of Scotland.
Cecil Beaton called him the best photographer in Britain; Lord Snowdon declared him a genius. It is no exaggeration to say that Angus McBean revolutionized portraiture in the 1930s, or that he immortalized the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, and Elizabeth Taylor. Blending wit, drama, and fantasy with the consummate skill of a master photographer, McBean was the most prominent theater photographer of his generation and, along with Beaton, the last of the British avant-garde studio photographers. For the first time since his death in 1990, McBean's photographs of stars such as Vivien Leigh, Peggy Ashcroft, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, and Audrey Hepburn and his rarely seen color prints from the 1960s of the Beatles, Maria Callas, and Shirley Bassey are brought together in this fascinating book. Terence Pepper's intriguing account of McBean's life and work includes extracts from the photographer's unpublished autobiography. Terence Pepper is curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery in London. He is the author of The Man Who Shot Garbo: The Photographs of Clarence Sinclair Bull, High Society: Photographs 1897-1914, and monographs on Lewis Morley and Dorothy Wilding.