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.

Search the Collection

John Vickers

(died 1976), Theatre photographer and photographic assistant to Angus McBean

Artist associated with 5 portraits
John Vickers began his career by working as assistant to photographer Angus McBean in the 1930s. From 1939 until the time of his death, he ran his own studio. After the war he became well known as a theatre photographer working for theatres including the Old Vic. He photographed over 1,000 productions and his portraits of actors, writers and musicians gained him a high reputation. For the last twenty years of his career he worked mainly on advertising and commercial photography.

Tell us More

List Thumbnail

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

Angus McBean and Vivien Leigh, by John Vickers - NPG Ax183862

Angus McBean and Vivien Leigh

by John Vickers
vintage bromide print, 1938
NPG Ax183862

Peter Gellhorn, by John Vickers - NPG x16340

Peter Gellhorn

by John Vickers
bromide print, 1950s
NPG x16340

Web image not currently available

Lillian Gish

by John Vickers
halftone reproduction tear sheet, published 28 August 1946
NPG x193320

Web image not currently available

Frederick Ermin Woodhouse

by John Vickers
halftone reproduction tear sheet, published 28 September 1949
NPG x193369


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.

Paul Del Bravo

01 April 2019, 05:16

Between 1968 and 1970 John Vickers taught Photographic Business Studies as part of the Diploma in Professional Photography course offered by Ealing School of Photography, later absorbed into Thames Valley University. I was fortunate to attend his weekly classes - often one of only two students who saw great value in the wisdom he so freely shared. (The other was cinematographer Simon Kossoff, son of actor David Kossoff.)

John Vickers treated us not only to detailed explanations of how many of his noted theatrical portraits and staged action shots for front-of-house posters were achieved, but also a wealth of experience of the essentials of running a successful photographic studio from strategies for marketing right down to dealing with tax and insurance, and how to calculate a pricing structure to ensure profitability. All learned the hard way over many years.

His techniques for theatrical lighting stood me in good stead when I moved into television, and his approach to portraiture gave me an insight into creating successful working relationships with clients and models which has stayed with me over the years. I shall always be grateful to John for his professional generosity and the inspiration which he gave.

- Paul Del Bravo, TV Lighting Director and Stills Photographer, New Zealand

Asad A. Khan

17 July 2017, 08:10

I briefly met John Vickers in the late 1960s, when I was working with Anthony Buckley, first as an apprentice and then partner at our studios 36 New Bond Street and from 1964 at 81 Grosvenor Street. We were the official photographers to HM The Queen, The Duke, Queen Mum etc for over 15 years. I retired from Photography in 1971 and am now a man at leisure. Lots of good memories. Photographed a huge number of theatre personalities inc. Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, sybill Thorndyke,
John Gielgud, Evelyn Laye, Flora Robson and 100s of others.

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.