national portrait gallery

“I’m against the idea that rock stars have to live a life that’s completely understandable or predictable to their audience….Maybe I’ll just be the mysterious figure that’ll never be able to truly be defined. Maybe that’s what my thing is.” - Debbie Harry (via)

This photo of Blondie lead singer, Debbie Harry by Robert Mapplethorpe is one of 100 that make up the “American Cool” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

Portraith with a Serpent.

“The X-ray shows a female head in a higher position, facing in the opposite direction to the portrait of Elizabeth. The eyes and nose of the face underneath can now be seen where paint has been lost from Elizabeth’s forehead…The identity of the original sitter remains a mystery but the unfinished portrait appears to have been very competently painted, probably by a different artist. The horiginal sitter appears to have been wearing a French hood of a type that was fashionable in the 1570s and 1580s, suggesting that there may have been a period of a few years before the panel was re-used.”

Could this unknown woman be the Queen’s Mother, Anne Boleyn? "The oval face with dark dramatic eyes, high cheekbones and full lips bears resemblance to contemporary accounts on Anne Boleyn’s appearance. This portrait looks very similar to NPG and Hever portraits of Anne Boleyn.”

Could this be Anne Boleyn? Retweet and comment what you think!

-credit to

The Cinderella Experience

My evening at the Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

By Rare Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn photographed by Norman Parkinson, 1955.

Have courage and be kind…. Where there is kindness there is goodness, and where there is goodness there is magic.” – Cinderella, 2015.

In many of Audrey Hepburn’s films there is one constant theme: the Cinderella story. A young woman, aimlessly living her life, in some form ventures out into a new world, whether it be Rome, Paris, or in this instance, London. During that time, her outlook changes, her hair changes, her wardrobe goes from meager to Givenchy but most importantly she begins to see herself differently. She is no longer squandering her days pining away for something more. For one night, I felt like one of Audrey’s memorable characters. I got to wear the dress and see the world through a new light and for a brief moment, I was Sabrina Fairchild and the moon was reaching for me.

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Audrey Hepburn: Portraits Of An Icon Preview  Few can possess the mantle of icon, yet when it comes to Audrey Hepburn, another moniker just doesn’t do her justice. This week, the National Portrait Gallery crowns the actress, mother, philanthropist just that, as it opens its doors to the eagerly anticipated photographic retrospective in her honour, Audrey Hepburn Portraits of an Icon. 

“We started putting the exhibition together in 2012 and really tried to represent in the show her key films and key places from her career - from films such as War and Peace and Funny Face - picking the most iconic shots from each. But she made about 30 films and we’re restricted to about 80 pictures,” co-curator of the exhibition Terence Pepper told us at an exclusive preview yesterday. 

“What was very exciting was getting permission to visit her official archive in California. It’s extremely well catalogued and there are over 4000 photographs and press cuttings from her life that her mother and others had collected for her - and she kept things herself. It was really hard choosing 35 pictures out of that!" 

Norman Parkinson, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Terry O'Neill and Steven Meisel are all represented in the exhibition, as are many others, all of whom captured what Pepper recalls Hepburn’s "new beauty”. 

“She was a totally new beauty, as Cecil Beaton said, with this sort of post-war glamour,” continued Pepper. “What I like about her is her personality, her haircut and her eyebrows - they captivate me. And that she never wore high heels. She had an intelligence behind being sexy and she was very self-deprecating all the time. Her mother used to tell her all the time, ‘I can’t believe how far you’ve got with such little talent’ - a terrible thing for a parent to say!" 

Few can dispute Hepburn’s talent, nor her beauty, nor her style, all of which emanate from the walls of this intimate new exhibition. 

Audrey Hepburn Portraits of an Icon, is on at the National Portrait Gallery, from July 2 to October 18 2015.

Cupcake Katy by Will Cotton; © 2010 Will Cotton; Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, promised gift of the James Dicke Family.

“Will Cotton’s tongue-in-cheek portrait of Katy as a ‘cupcake’ brings to mind a traditional European portrait of a bewitching 18th-century belle—Madame de Pompadour perhaps?—butter melts in neither of their mouths. Sweet but no mere piece of ‘candy,’ the woman is accessorized but not labeled: she’s the one in control.” (via)

“Cupcake Katy,” a new addition to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, portrays internationally successful pop singer Katy Perry. It will be on view June 18.

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013

A bit late of the presses but…My portrait of Katie Walsh was awarded first prize at The National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013. It has been overwhelming to be given this recognition espescially after coming third in last year’s prize and it’s impossible to put into words quite how much it means. The image will be on show at the NPG, along with the other 60 images that were selected for exhibition, until the 9th of February 2014.


David Bailey has made an outstanding contribution to photography and the visual arts, creating consistently imaginative and thought-provoking portraits. As well as new work, this landmark exhibition includes a wide variety of Bailey’s photographs from a career that has spanned more than half a century.

Bailey’s Stardust, at the National Portrait Gallery London, captures an extraordinary range of subjects: actors, writers, musicians, filmmakers, designers, models, artists and people encountered on his travels; famous, and anonymous alike.

Rooms are devoted to Bailey’s time in East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Delhi and the Naga Hills, as well as icons from the worlds of fashion and the arts, striking portraits of the Rolling Stones and Catherine Bailey and people of the East End of London.

Featuring over 250 images, personally selected and printed by Bailey, the exhibition offers an unmissable opportunity to experience the work of one of the world’s greatest image-makers. With its final weeks approaching, make sure not to miss Stardust, ending on the 1st June.

See more David Bailey photography on his Website:


Audrey Hepburn’s Stunning Unseen Photos - BBC World Service

What was it about Audrey Hepburn that captivated some of the 20th Century’s most famous portrait and fashion photographers, from Richard Avedon to Cecil Beaton? Extremely rare photos of the actress - some of which have never been seen in public - are part of a forthcoming exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery. Co-curator Terence Pepper tells us why Audrey Hepburn’s beauty is so timeless.