Freddie Young; Herbert Wilcox; Anton Walbrook (Adolf Wohlbruck) as Prince Albert; Anna Neagle as Queen Victoria by Fred Daniels, cream-toned vintage bromide print, 1937, NPG x32925

The Gallery’s long interest in the life and career of British film-stills photographer Fred Daniels began in 1988, with the important acquisition of works from the photographer’s widow Nancy Eckert. In 2010, Nigel Arthur, BFI Stills Curator, was awarded a grant from the Understanding British Portraits Network to research Daniels’s work more fully, particularly with new information from his son, Jonty. Since then we have discovered many unknown studies by Daniels that were published in leading society magazines of the 1940s and 1950s.

Daniels’s breakthrough into a career in film was previously thought to have begun with E.A Dupont’s film Piccadilly (1929) and Atlantic (1930) but our new research revealed two earlier studies reproduced in The Tatler (October 26 1927) showing Monica Linden, star of George Leyton’s 1927 film Lady Godiva.

Daniels’s earliest publicity portraits for Powell and Pressburger to appear in print include a study of Laurence Olivier in character for the 49th Parallel (The Tatler and Bystander, February 1941). Tracing Daniels’s published work has enabled us to discover such alternative poses from sittings represented in our current display, and also previously lost or unattributed portraits. Personal highlights among these recently discovered portraits include ballerina Betty von Furstenberg, photographed in London in 1950 after filming Radvanyi’s Woman in the Shadows in Italy (Tatler and Bystander, February 1 1950) and Glynis Johns photographed with her five year old son Gareth inside Daniels’s self-designed Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home, The White House (Tatler and Bystander, 13 September 1950).

The last published work we have found by Daniels includes photographic subjects reinterpreted as drawings, notably Laurence Olivier (The Tatler, 10 Jan 1951) and Elizabeth Bergner’s famous pose in Escape Me Never (The Tatler, 28 Feb 28 1951). Documenting Daniels’s published work and recording its original context, adds new depth to our knowledge of this previously lesser-known pioneer of early British stills photography.

Image Credit (from top to bottom)

Freddie Young; Herbert Wilcox; Anton Walbrook (Adolf Wohlbruck) as Prince Albert; Anna Neagle as Queen Victoria by Fred Daniels, cream-toned vintage bromide print, 1937, NPG x32925

Glynis John by Fred Daniels, NPG Archives

Betty von Furstenberg by Fred Daniels, NPG Archives

As part of the display Fred Daniels: Cinema Portraits


Got something to say?


9 June 2014, 17:16

9th June 2014
Dear Helen,
Browsing through the web I came across all this information regarding Fred Daniels and I am hoping you can enlighten me regarding a book I own called "Magaret Morris Dancing" in which all the photographs are taken by Fred Daniels and the book is signed by both Morgaret Morris and Fred Daniels and is edition No.4. of this publication one of his first project so I understand photographed in the 1920's
It contains twenty one photographs.
Is there any monetary value in this book? Sincerely Alison Grieve

John Wiles

19 April 2014, 19:29

Pevsner's comments about the original owner of The White House, Hyver Hill "......... Fred Daniels, a film cameraman who worked at the Elstree Studios...." have been often repeated: so it's good to put the record straight.
As a child (and less affluent neighbour) in the 1950s, Fred and Nancy Daniels were generous to my parents and me, passing on some of Jonty's toys including several massive Meccano sets, winter clothing, and a beautiful ancient gramophone.


8 January 2014, 16:17

Dear Jonty,

Many thanks for your kind note, and great to know it is you shown with Glynnis Johns. We will make this correction regarding your mother's name today. I regularly receive enquiries about Fred Daniels as a result of last years display. Thank you for your support of this project.

Best wishes,


Jonty Daniels

5 January 2014, 15:44

Dear Helen,

I've only just picked up on your additional FD discoveries. Well done. It's me with Glynnis Johns.

Might be nice if my mother's name was corrected from Eckart to Eckert.

Best wishes

Jonty Daniels

Michael Rhodes

10 March 2013, 09:23

A few years ago I bought at auction, a cabin trunk full of drawings of film personalities by Fred Daniels. They were obviously taken from photographs but as an artist myself I was very impressed with the beautiful drawing technique. Unfortunately I sold many of these drawings at antique fairs but many were duplicated as bromide prints and indeed there is one photographic portrait bromide of an actress in a bonnet I am not sure who she is. I still have a few unfinished sketches and bromides copies of some that I sold. I believe Jack Cardiff who lived locally may have put this lot into the auction in Saffron Walden.

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