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Sir John Betjeman

(1906-1984), Poet Laureate, writer and broadcaster

Sitter in 41 portraits
Born in London of Dutch origin, Betjeman was a friend of W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice at Oxford. He began writing for the Architectural Review in 1931. At the Architectural Press he proposed the Shell Guides and became the series editor. As an early champion of Victorian architecture, Betjeman exercised, as he put it, his own 'topographical predeliction for suburbs and gaslights and Pont Street and Gothic Revival churches and mineral railways, provincial towns and garden cities'. His published poetry includes A Few Late Chrysanthemums (1954), the blank verse autobiography Summoned by Bells (1960), and A Nip in the Air, published in 1972, the year he became Poet Laureate.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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