Queen Elizabeth II
1 portrait on display in Room 32 at the National Portrait Gallery
Queen Elizabeth II
by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, November 1955
20 in. x 15 7/8 in. (509 mm x 404 mm)
Given by Mr Ford Hill and the American Friends of the National Portrait Gallery (London) Foundation, Inc., 2015
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Artistback to top
- Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1086 portraits, Sitter associated with 354 portraits.
This portraitback to top
In November 1955, Cecil Beaton was asked to photograph the Queen, just before she went on a three-week tour of Nigeria. In this year Beaton also travelled to Portugal to photograph the wedding of King Umberto's daughter to Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, and took portraits of Queen Helen of Romania.
Portrait setback to top
Events of 1955back to top
Current affairsRobert Anthony Eden becomes prime minister. In May 1955 Winston Churchill resigned due to ill health. His successor proved to be a similarly popular leader, winning an increased majority at the general election that year. Eden's popularity was due to a combination of his long wartime service, good looks and charm.
Art and scienceMary Quant introduces the 'Chelsea Look' with her Bazaar boutique. In the 1960s Quant was a major contributor to 'swinging London' introducing some of the seminal items of 1960s fashion: the miniskirt, hot pants, paint-box make-up and plastic raincoats.
InternationalWest Germany joins NATO, prompting the East European Communist counties to respond by forming the Warsaw Pact. The signatories of the Warsaw Pact pledged to defend each other if any member was attacked. This development was a major event in the Cold War as it firmly established the East and West as opposing military powers.
Exhibitions and displays
- A Century of Photography, 1840-1940
Until 29 October
- Yousuf Karsh
- The Face of Monarchy
- The Queen's Golden Jubilee
- Terry O'Neill: Celebrity
- Kings and Queens: A Family tree
- Cecil Beaton Portraits
- The Royal Ballet at 75
- Cecil Beaton Drawings
- Handlist of names in the Reference Collection
- Photographic holdings - print and negative collections
- Learn more
- In Close Up: Laurence Olivier