Queen Elizabeth II
1 portrait on display in Room 32 at the National Portrait Gallery
Queen Elizabeth II
by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, October 1968
19 1/4 in. x 15 3/8 in. (490 mm x 391 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 1088 portraits, Sitter associated with 354 portraits.
This portraitback to top
In 1968, the National Portrait Gallery held its first photographic exhibition Beaton Portraits 1928-68 (November 1968 - March 1969). Curated by Roy Strong, the Gallery's Director, it was the first retrospective of the work of a living photographer in a British national museum. The Queen wears an Admiral's Boat Cloak and her poses from this sitting deliberately echo Pietro Annigoni's famous 1954 painting. This 1968 sitting was Beaton's last with Queen Elizabeth, although he continued to photograph other members of the royal family until November 1979.
Portrait setback to top
Events of 1968back to top
Current affairsEnoch Powell delivers his 'Rivers of Blood' speech in Birmingham in opposition to anti-discrimination legislation and immigration from the commonwealth. The speech is usually regarded as racist and blamed for stirring up racial prejudice. Powell was sacked from the shadow cabinet as a result, but received considerable public approval at the time for his views.Fay Sislin becomes England first black woman police officer.
Art and scienceBeaton Portraits is the first ever photographic exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Under the directorship of Roy Strong, the exhibition introduced a new, theatrical approach to display, and was so popular that the national press reported on the length of queues to get in and it had to be extended twice.
InternationalCivil unrest escalates in France as student protesters, joined by striking workers, clash with the police. The events came to represent the conflict between the new, liberalised, left-wing generation and the forces of authority and conservatism. French protests were mirrored by others abroad including the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia, where political liberalisation was achieved for a few months before the country was invaded by the Soviet Union.
Exhibitions and displays
- A Century of Photography, 1840-1940
Until 1 October
- The Face of Monarchy
- The Queen's Golden Jubilee
- Kings and Queens: A Family tree
- Terry O'Neill: Celebrity
- Yousuf Karsh
- Cecil Beaton Portraits
- Cecil Beaton Drawings
- Learn more
- Handlist of names in the Reference Collection
- Photographic holdings - print and negative collections
- In Close Up: Laurence Olivier
- The Royal Ballet at 75