1 of 8 portraits of George Melly
© Lewis Morley Archive / National Portrait Gallery, London
by Lewis Morley
bromide print, 1956
7 3/4 in. x 9 5/8 in. (195 mm x 243 mm)
Given by the photographer, Lewis Morley, 1992
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- (Alan) George Heywood Melly (1926-2007), Jazz singer, critic, writer and lecturer. Sitter in 8 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Lewis Morley (1925-2013), Photographer. Artist of 303 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.
This portraitback to top
As a jazz singer, Melly sang with Mick Mulligan's Magnolia Jazz Band (1946-61) and from 1974 with John Chilton's Feetwarmers. His early experiences in the Royal Navy and as an assistant at the London Gallery are recalled in Rum, Bum, and Concertina (1977) and Don't Tell Sybill (1997). With Willy Fawkes (Trog), he wrote the Strip cartoon Flook (1956-1971). From 1965-1973 Melly was the Observer critic for (successively) pop music, film and TV, and has since widely lectured on art. Other books include owning up (1964), The Media Mob, (with Barry Fantoni, 1980) and works on surrealism and primitive art. He is seen in this photograph taken in the 1960s reading a newspaper.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Fryer, Jonathan, Character Sketches: Soho in the Fifties and Sixties, 1998, p. 55
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 426
Events of 1956back to top
Current affairsThe first supermarket opens in Britain. Inspired by the new innovation in America, Jack Cohen opened his first Tesco supermarket in Essex. The First Clean Air Act is passed in response to the 'Pea Soup' smog over London.
Art and sciencePop Art is seen for the first time in the This is Tomorrow exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. The exhibition included Richard Hamilton's iconic collage: What is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger opens at the Royal Court Theatre, introducing the phrase 'Angry young man' to describe the new movement of gritty, post-war realism in literature.
InternationalThe Suiz Crisis rocked Eden's premiership and marked the decline of British world power and influence in favour of America. In 1956 President Nasser of Egypt nationalised the Suez canal. Although Britain and France, who had owned the canal since the 19th century, invaded Egypt, they were soon persuaded to withdraw by US President Eisenhower who disapproved of the occupation.
Exhibitions and displays
- Lewis Morley ‘Mammoth’ Prints
Until 20 November