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

Joan Plowright

(1929-), Actress

Dame Joan Ann Plowright (Lady Olivier)

Sitter in 12 portraits
Plowright trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and in 1956 joined the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre. In 1957 she played opposite Laurence Olivier (whom she married in 1961) in The Entertainer and was Beattie in Arnold Wesker's Roots (1959). She won a TONY award for her performance in A Taste of Honey at the Lyceum Theatre in New York (1960). Her screen career includes roles in The Dressmaker (1988), Enchanted April (1992) and Tea with Mussolini (1999). She was made a Dame in 2004 and in 2009 she was appointed Honorary President of the English Stage Company.

Tell us More

2 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

Joan Plowright, by Angus McBean - NPG P908

Joan Plowright

by Angus McBean
bromide print, early 1960s
NPG P908

Joan Plowright, by Mark Gerson - NPG x17988

Joan Plowright

by Mark Gerson
bromide print, September 1957
NPG x17988

Joan Plowright, by John Vere Brown - NPG x68282

Joan Plowright

by John Vere Brown
bromide fibre print, 1957
NPG x68282

Joan Plowright, by Paul Tanqueray - NPG x21781

Joan Plowright

by Paul Tanqueray
vintage bromide print, 1958
NPG x21781

Joan Plowright, by Sandra Lousada - NPG x135448

Joan Plowright

by Sandra Lousada
gelatin silver print, 1961
NPG x135448

Joan Plowright; Laurence Olivier; Hon. Richard Olivier, by Anthony Buckley - NPG x76239

Joan Plowright; Laurence Olivier; Hon. Richard Olivier

by Anthony Buckley
modern bromide print from original negative, 1961
NPG x76239

''In' Group', by Patrick Lichfield - NPG x128493

''In' Group'

by Patrick Lichfield
archival inkjet print, July 1967
NPG x128493

Joan Plowright, by Carolyn Djanogly - NPG x87747

Joan Plowright

by Carolyn Djanogly
bromide fibre print, 1997
NPG x87747

Web image not currently available

Joan Plowright as Mrs Margery Pinchwife in 'The Country Wife'

by Angus McBean
halftone reproduction tear sheet, published 2 January 1957
NPG x193411

Web image not currently available

The Olivier family

by Alistair Morrison
C-type colour print, circa 1986
NPG x30426

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.


Make a donation

Support our Make History appeal and help us transform the Gallery.

Help us make history

Online shop

A unique range of books, accessories and gifts. Every purchase supports the Gallery’s work.

Shop now

Bring a familiar face home

Refresh your home gallery with a huge selection of custom art prints .

Buy a print