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W.H. Auden

5 of 43 portraits of W.H. Auden

W.H. Auden, by Richard Avedon, 1960 - NPG P614 - © Richard Avedon Foundation

© Richard Avedon Foundation

W.H. Auden

by Richard Avedon
bromide print, 1960
23 5/8 in. x 19 in. (600 mm x 483 mm)
Given by the photographer, Richard Avedon, 1995
Primary Collection
NPG P614

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  • Richard Avedon (1923-2004), Fashion photographer. Artist of 5 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

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In the late 1950s Auden returned to England, where he had been elected professor of poetry at Oxford. Despite residual hostility in his home country caused by his move to America, his three annual lectures were highly successful and published in The Dyer's Hand (1962). Auden continued to spend his winters in New York, and this portrait was taken near his apartment in St Mark's Place, the year he published Homage to Clio.

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Current affairs

Prince Andrew is born, the third child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. The Contraceptive Pill is introduced in England, dramatically changing the nation's approach to sex and relationships, and significantly contributing to the 1960s culture of liberation.

Art and science

Penguin books defend D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover against charges of obscenity by demonstrating that the novel was of literary merit. The 'not guilty' verdict was seen as a victory for free speech and marked the beginning if a new era of liberalism. The satirical review Beyond the Fringe launches the careers of Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller.


Harold Macmillan delivers his 'wind of change' speech to the South African Parliament in Cape Town, announcing Britain's decision to grant independence to many of her colonies. The speech recognised the emergence of African nationalism, and criticised the policy of Apartheid in South Africa.

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