The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Search the Collection

Angus McBean

(1904-1990), Photographer

Sitter in 79 portraits
Artist associated with 276 portraits
Began his career in the theatre as mask-maker and scenery designer before turning to full-time theatre photography. McBean is renowned for his theatrical and inventive photography of the 1930s and 1940s. Imitated throughout his career, his influence especially in advertising is still prominent today. In 1935 he opened his own studio; and his prominent style was soon being published in glossy magazines. The Surrealist Exhibition in 1936 was an influence on McBean's theatrical portraits. After the Second World War he opened a larger studio in Covent Garden, and in the 1940s and 1950s was inundated with commissions from theatre companies. In the 1960s McBean photographed the Beatles for their first album.

Tell us More

8 Likes voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close

List Thumbnail

Beatrix Lehmann, by Angus McBean - NPG P922

Beatrix Lehmann

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1937
NPG P922

Flora Robson, by Angus McBean - NPG P374

Flora Robson

by Angus McBean
vintage bromide print, 1938
NPG P374

Frances Day, by Angus McBean - NPG P917

Frances Day

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
NPG P917

Mary Ellis, by Angus McBean - NPG P1300

Mary Ellis

by Angus McBean
vintage bromide print, 1938
NPG P1300

Leslie Henson, by Angus McBean - NPG P1301

Leslie Henson

by Angus McBean
vintage bromide print, 1938
NPG P1301

Luise Rainer, by Angus McBean - NPG P1307

Luise Rainer

by Angus McBean
vintage bromide print, 1938
NPG P1307

Zena Dare, by Angus McBean - NPG P888

Zena Dare

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
NPG P888

Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, by Angus McBean - NPG P893

Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
NPG P893

Vivien Leigh; Angus McBean, by Angus McBean, by  John Vickers - NPG P901

Vivien Leigh; Angus McBean

by Angus McBean, by John Vickers
bromide print, 1938
NPG P901

Dame Peggy Ashcroft, by Angus McBean - NPG P913

Dame Peggy Ashcroft

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
NPG P913

Jane Baxter (Feodora Forde), by Angus McBean - NPG P914

Jane Baxter (Feodora Forde)

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
NPG P914

Dame Gladys Cooper, by Angus McBean - NPG P916

Dame Gladys Cooper

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
NPG P916

Dorothy Dickson, by Angus McBean - NPG P918

Dorothy Dickson

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
NPG P918

Elsa Lanchester, by Angus McBean - NPG P921

Elsa Lanchester

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
NPG P921

Margaret Lockwood, by Angus McBean - NPG P923

Margaret Lockwood

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1938
NPG P923


Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.


Pioneer Podcasts

Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.

Explore the podcasts

Untitled, c.1973 (Alex Chilton) by William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust

Eggleston Playlist

William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.

Listen to the playlist

Archive interviews

Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.

Watch, listen and read