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Sir Frederick Ashton

(1904-1988), Founder-choreographer and Director of the Royal Ballet

Sitter in 29 portraits
Ashton created his first ballet A Tragedy of Fashion in 1926. Choreographing several pieces for the Vic-Wells Ballet he joined the company in 1935. As resident choreographer, he worked with the young Fonteyn, who became his muse. Among his greatest ballets are Symphonic Variations (1946), Scènes de Ballet (1948), La Fille mal gardée (1960), The Dream (1964), and A Month in the Country (1976). Knighted in 1962, he became director of the company the following year. In 1970 he was made a Companion of Honour and awarded the Order of Merit in 1977. His later ballets include Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan (1979, created for Lynn Seymour) and Rhapsody (1980).

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Sir Frederick Ashton, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P869(2)

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print on white card mount, 1950
NPG P869(2)

Sir Frederick Ashton, by Bernard Lee ('Bern') Schwartz - NPG P1138

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Bernard Lee ('Bern') Schwartz
dye transfer print, 15 April 1977
NPG P1138

Sir Frederick Ashton, by Arnold Newman - NPG P150(2)

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Arnold Newman
bromide print, 1978
NPG P150(2)

Sir Frederick Ashton, by Austin Bennett - NPG 5866

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Austin Bennett
bronze head, 1985
NPG 5866

Sir Frederick Ashton, by Robert Heindel - NPG 6189

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Robert Heindel
oil on canvas, 1985
NPG 6189

Sir Frederick Ashton, by Gordon Anthony - NPG x44759

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Gordon Anthony
modern bromide print from original negative, 1930s
NPG x44759

Sir Frederick Ashton, by Gordon Anthony - NPG x137041

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Gordon Anthony
vintage print, 1930s
NPG x137041

Sir Frederick Ashton, by Edward George W. Malindine, for  Daily Herald - NPG x131124

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Edward George W. Malindine, for Daily Herald
modern bromide print from original negative, 2 December 1936
NPG x131124

Sir Frederick Ashton, by Angus McBean - NPG x15063

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1941
NPG x15063

Eric John Crozier; Sir Frederick Ashton and John Piper, possibly by Edward Mandinian - NPG x15215

Eric John Crozier; Sir Frederick Ashton and John Piper

possibly by Edward Mandinian
bromide contact print, 1947
NPG x15215

Sir Frederick Ashton; Rudolf Hametovich Nureyev, by Michael Peto - NPG x138053

Sir Frederick Ashton; Rudolf Hametovich Nureyev

by Michael Peto
modern bromide print from original negative, February 1962
NPG x138053

Martha Mlinaric; Sir Frederick Ashton; David Ball, by Angela Gorgas - NPG x133023

Martha Mlinaric; Sir Frederick Ashton; David Ball

by Angela Gorgas
modern bromide print from original negative, 1977
NPG x133023

Image currently unavailable owing to copyright restrictions

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Lee Miller
modern archival-toned gelatin silver print from original negative, 1933
NPG P1074

Image currently unavailable owing to copyright restrictions

Sir Frederick Ashton

by Lord Snowdon
gelatin silver print, 19 June 1979
NPG P1847

Image currently unavailable owing to copyright restrictions

Benjamin Britten and Sir Frederick Ashton

by Unknown photographer
bromide print, 1947
NPG x15217

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