COMING HOME: David Beckham

Past national and international programme archive
5 December 2019 - 1 March 2021

Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone

David Beckham was born in Whipps Cross University Hospital on 2 May 1975. Growing up in nearby Leytonstone, he had scored over a hundred goals for his childhood team by the age of eight. He became the first English player to win league titles in four countries while playing for Manchester United (1992–2003), Real Madrid (2003–7), LA Galaxy (2007–12) and Paris Saint-Germain (2013). He also captained the English team 115 times. Beckham retired in 2013, dedicating himself to his new team Inter Miami CF and charitable work, including his role as a UNICEF Ambassador.

Artist and film director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s intimate portrait of footballer David Beckham presents us with a vulnerable depiction of a national icon, in contrast to more familiar images of him playing football, modelling, or as captured by paparazzi. Simply lit from a single light source, this rich, painterly film is a meditation on celebrity. In a naturalistic scene shot in real time, the artist captures Beckham asleep in Madrid, exhausted after a long training session with his team. To portray a different side of Beckham, Taylor-Johnson drew inspiration from the Renaissance artist Michelangelo’s Allegory of Night and Pop Artist Andy Warhol’s film Sleep.

coming home

    David Beckham ('David'),    by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Sam Taylor-Wood),    2004,    NPG 6661,    © Sam Taylor-Wood
David Beckham ('David') by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Sam Taylor-Wood)