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John Osborne

9 of 21 portraits of John Osborne

John Osborne, by Daniel Farson, July 1956 - NPG x22192 - © estate of Daniel Farson / National Portrait Gallery, London

© estate of Daniel Farson / National Portrait Gallery, London

John Osborne

by Daniel Farson
vintage contact sheet, July 1956
8 in. x 10 in. (202 mm x 255 mm) image size
Purchased, 1985
Photographs Collection
NPG x22192


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Sitterback to top

  • John James Osborne (1929-1994), Playwright, autobiographer and actor. Sitter in 21 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Daniel Farson (1927-1997), Photographer and writer. Artist of 47 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Osborne's first play Look Back in Anger (1956) staged at the Royal Court Theatre became a seminal work, changing the course of British theatre. Farson, who had become friends with Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider was inspired to write about literature's Post-War Generation for the Daily Mail, 'In the theatre, this cynical post-war type is exemplified by John Osborne's angry young man Jimmy Porter.' Osborne told Farson why he thought the play had caused such controversy, 'it's about real people and audiences aren't used to seeing that.'

Placesback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1956back to top

Current affairs

The 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 science

Pop 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.

International

The 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.

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