An exhibition of portraits of Her Majesty the Queen by photographer Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) is open at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, and runs until December 2.
The exhibition coincides with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. The show presents highlights from the V&A’s collection of Beaton’s royal photography, and depicts the Queen in her roles as princess, monarch and mother. It includes more than sixty photographs, as well as film clips and excerpts from Beaton’s private diaries and letters.
Beaton was a distinguished photographer, designer and avid diarist and his royal portraits were among the most widely published photographs of the 20th century. The exhibition explores Beaton’s long relationship with the Queen, who was a teenage princess when she first sat for Beaton in 1942. Over the next three decades, he photographed the Queen on many significant occasions, including her magnificent Coronation Day.
Julie Milne, Chief Curator for Art Galleries, says: “We are extremely thankful to the V&A in London for this wonderful exhibition. Visitors to the Laing can view Her Majesty the Queen in a variety of different photographs, from elegant and highly-staged photographs to informal and intimate moments of the royal family at home.”
The exhibition is arranged in five sections documenting important sittings and charting the shift in Beaton’s photographic style, from his early Rococo-inspired portraits to a starker approach in the 1960s. One section showcases portraits of Beaton himself by his contemporaries including Curtis Moffat, Irving Penn and David Bailey.
Susanna Brown, V&A Curator of Photographs, says: “The V&A is home to the UK’s national collection of the art of photography. This touring exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to share some of the treasures of that collection with audiences around the country.”
The Laing Art Gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 2pm to 5pm. Admission is free. For more details visit www.laingartgallery.org.uk or find the Laing on Facebook, Twitter, @LaingArtGallery and Flickr.