Mayotte Magnus: Photographs of Women

National Portrait Gallery 21 October to 11 December 1977 

Press Notice

An exhibition of nearly 90 photographs by Mayotte Magnus of eminent British women will open tomorrow at the National Portrait Gallery and will be on show until 11 December. Mayotte Magnus , who is French by both, has lived in this country for some years. This will be her first London exhibition, though she had a one-woman show in Paris in 1974, and the Bibliotheque Nationale has a number of her portraits for its permanent collection.

Mayotte Magnus became seriously interested in photography in 1970, after meeting Bruce Pinkard. Having previously painted portraits, she was fascinated by the different techniques of the camera. In 1972 she won first prize in an Ilford competition, and she is now a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. Mayotte Magnus undertakes considerable research about her sitters before taking their photographs, choosing symbols in their surroundings to help express the personality of the individual.

This will be the first time the portrait photographs of so many distinguished British women have hung on the Gallery’s walls. The women chosen are not only those who are well known to the public; Mayotte Magnus has selected her subjects rather for the nature of their achievements. Each one has, by developing her own interests and talents, contributed to the community, and in working for personal fulfilment has brought benefit to others.

The sitters have all been photographed specially for the exhibition, most of them in their homes or places of work, as Mayotte Magnus believes that such portraits are more revealing than those taken in a studio.

Press Extracts

Art and Artists ‘London’, Louise Collis, December 1977

As so often happens, it’s the aged who steal the show. The young are good-looking and clever, but a lifetime’s thought and aspiration will carve a woman’s face and body until every line and every gesture expresses her individuality.

Guardian ‘Box Magic’ Janet Watts, 4th October 1977

Mayotte Magnus says she is not really a photographer: “I just love people, and I happen to be expressing it this way.” Her enthusiasm for what she calls her women is convincing and infectious, and although her technical knowledge, supported by her husband Jorge Lewinski’s is considerable, it is this feeling that dominates her work.

The Times Literary Supplement ‘Sitting Amongst Symbols’, 4th Nov 1977

This is not the sort of photography that reveals a personality by capturing the spontaneous gesture or fleeting expression. Rather it is a matter of image-building, as well as symbol-mongering.

 

Exhibition Handlist

1. Laura Ashley
Textile designer
Wales, May 1977

2. Helen Bradley
Painter, writer
Cheshire, March 1977

3. Mary Quant
Designer
Surrey, June 1977

4. Lynn Seymour
Ballet dancer
London, May 1974

5. Marina Warner
Writer
London, March, 1977

6. Glenda Jackson
Actress

London, May 1977

7. Claire Hollingsworth
Journalist
London, July 1977

8. Fay Godwin
Photographer
London, September 1977

9. Margaret Maden
Headmistress
London, March 1977

10. Jocelyn Bell-Burnell
Astronomer
Surrey, March 1977

11. Jean Muir
Fashion designer
London, June 1976

12. Angela Pope
Television director
London, June 1977

13. Iris Murdoch
Writer
London, June 1976

14. Gillian Lynne
Choreographer
London, September 1977

15. Margaret Busby
Publisher
London, October 1977
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16. Dame Ninette de Valois
Ballet director
Barnes, May 1976

17. Nicola Bayley
Book illustrator
London, March 1977

18. Elisabeth Lutyens
Composer
London, August 1976

19. Mrs Rosanna Hawkins
Salvationist
Kent, August 1977

20. Dr Megan Bull
Prison Governor
London, September 1977

21. Dilys Powell
Film critic, writer
London, June 1976

22. Dr Cicely Saunders
Doctor
Lodnon, August 1977

23. Lilian Somerville
Civil Servant
London, June 1977

24. Stella Richman
Company Director
London, September 1977

25. Julia Newberger
Rabbi
London, September 1977

26. Elisabeth Frink
Sculptor
Lodnon, April 1974

27. Judi Dench
Actress
London, August 1977
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28. Kathleen Pleydell-Bouverie
Potter
Wiltshire, September 1977

29. Margaret Weston
Museum Director
London, July 1977

30. Dame Barbara Ward
Environmentalist
Hampshire, August 1977

31. Susanna Heron
Jewellery designer
London, February 1977

32. Muriel Bradbrook
Scholar
Cambridge, August 1976

33. Sidonie Goossens
Harpist
London, May 1977

34. Shirley Williams
Politician
London, May 1977

35. Mary Douglas
Professor of Anthropology
London, May 1977

36. Una Kroll, Linda-Mary Evans
Deaconesses
Cardiff, April 1977

37. Dame Marie Rambert
Ballet Director
London, February 1976

38. Dorothy Hodgkin
Professor of Chemistry
Oxford, March 1977

39. Antoinette Sibley
Ballet dancer
London, September 1977

40. Dame Rebecca West
Writer
London, February 1977

41. Jessica Mitford
Writer
Swinbrook, November 1976

42. Penny Slinger
Artist
London, May 1977

43. Yolanda Sonnabend
Theatre designer
London, March 1977

44. Frances Cairncross
Journalist
London, September 1977


45. Edna O’Brien
Writer
London, July 1977

46. Margaret Drabble
Writer
London, May 1976
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47. Kathleen Raine
Poet
London, September 1977

48. Elizabeth Maconchy, Nicola Le Fanu
Composers
Essex, April 1977

49. Sheila Scott
Pilot
Buckinghamshire, September 1977

50. Clare Francis
Sailor
Lymington, July 1977

51. Kathleen Kenyon
Archaeologist
Clywd, April 1977

52. Kate Heron
Architect
Isle of Dogs, September 1977

53. Janet Suzman
Actress
London, October 1977

54. Grace Wyndham-Goldie
Television producer
London, May 1977

55. Molly Parkin
Journalist, writer
Cornwall, August 1977

56. Rosemary Murray
University vice-chancellor
Cambridge, September 1976

57. Lady Plowden
Educationalist
London, November 1976

58. Liliane Lijn
Sculptor
London, May 1973

59. Jane Manning
Singer
London, March, 1977

60. Bridget Riley
Painter
London, April 1973

61. Beatrix Miller
Editor of Vogue
London, August 1977

62. Erin Pizzey
Campaigner for battered wives
London, February 1977

63. Erin Pizzey
With mothers and children
London, February 1977

64. Lady Longford
Writer
London, September 1975

65. Tessa Fuchs
Potter
Kingston, July 1977

66. Sian Phillips
Actress
London, September 1977

67. Liz Thomas
Nurse
London, March 1977

68. Joyce Hopkirk
Journalist
Hemel Hempstead, June 1976

69. Dame Helen Gardner
Scholar
Oxford, February 1977

70. Lady Masham
Campaigner for the disabled
Yorkshire, May 1976

71. Sue Davies
Founder of The Photographers’ Gallery
London. March 1977

72. Susan Hill
Writer
Stratford-upon-Avon, August 1977

73. Margo McDonald
Politician
Glasgow, February 1977

74. Christina Foyle
Bookseller
London, November 1976

75. Dame Peggy Ashcroft
Actress
London, June 1977

76. Dame Janet Baker
Singer
London, August 1977

77. Eldred Evans
Architect
London, June 1977

78. Ena Twigg
Medium
London, August 1976

79. Dr Margery Blackie
Doctor
London, July 1977

80. Marjorie Proops
Journalist
London, May 1977

81. Eirlys Roberts
Campaigner for consumer protection
London, June 1977

82. Jocelyn Herbert
Theatre designer
London, May 1977

83. Dame Josephine Barnes
Gynaecologist
London, May 1977

84. Gina Levete
Teacher of movement
London, September 1977

85. Jane Drew
Architect
London, May 1976

86. Heather Harper
Singer
London, July 1977

87. Judith Hart
Politician
London, October 1977

88. Dame Barbara Hepworth
Sculptor
St Ives, September 1975