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Dorelia McNeill; Augustus John

14 of 15 portraits of Dorelia McNeill

Dorelia McNeill; Augustus John, by Cecil Beaton, June 1960 - NPG x133299 - © Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby's London

© Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby's London

Dorelia McNeill; Augustus John

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print, June 1960
8 in. x 7 1/2 in. (202 mm x 190 mm) image size
Purchased, 2010
Photographs Collection
NPG x133299

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  • Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1088 portraits, Sitter associated with 354 portraits.

This portraitback to top

These informal photographs were taken during the summer of 1960, when Cecil Beaton paid several visits to Fryern Court to have his portrait painted by John. The sittings did not go well. John was eighty-two years old and could no longer hold his brush steadily. Beaton felt that John repeatedly ruined his work with haphazard over-painting. His pallet changed from vivid green to pillar-box red. At one point Beaton posed whilst ill and nearly fainted. It was one of John's final attempts at a portrait and remained unfinished at his death.

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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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