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Christopher Isherwood

1 of 29 portraits matching 'Christopher Isherwood'

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Christopher Isherwood

by Humphrey Spender
bromide print, 1935
8 1/4 in. x 5 3/4 in. (210 mm x 146 mm)
Purchased, 1977
Primary Collection
NPG P41

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Humphrey Spender (1910-2005), Photographer, artist and designer. Artist or producer of 15 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In 1979 Humphrey Spender provided information about his photograph of the novelist Christopher Isherwood as follows: 'This was taken in Berlin in about 1935. He is standing against the window of the apartment made famous in Goodbye to Berlin...looking at and commenting on some activity in the street two floors below.' It is an appropriately melancholy image, slightly narcissistic, combined with Spender's interest in precise pictorial record.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG P196: Stephen Spender (includes the portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Writers, p. 93
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 197
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 197 Read entry

    In 1979 Humphrey Spender provided information about his photograph of the novelist Christopher Isherwood as follows: 'This was taken in Berlin in about 1935. He is standing against the window of the apartment made famous in Goodbye to Berlin with its landlady who called him Herr Issyvoo. It was an intended irony, though perhaps rather too subtly, that the upraised arm echoes the "Heil Hitler" greeting gesture. He is looking at, and commenting on, some activity in the street two floors below.' It is an appropriately melancholy image, slightly narcissistic, combined with Spender's interest in precise pictorial record.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 329
  • Tinker, Christopher, Speak its Name! - Quotations by and about Gay Men and Women, 2016, p. 114

Placesback to top

  • Place made: Germany (sitter's home, Berlin, Germany)

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1935back to top

Current affairs

Stanley Baldwin starts his third term as Prime Minister after Ramsay Macdonald resigns due to ill health. Coincidentally, Baldwin's first term in office also came about when the Prime Minister of the time, Bonar Law, stepped down due to illness in 1923.

Art and science

Robert Watson-Watt demonstrates Radar, showing how an aircraft can be tracked by detecting radio waves reflected off it. During the war, Watson-Watt established a network of machines and operators that helped detect the approach of enemy aircraft in the Battle of Britain.
Penguin publishes its first paperback books, making reading more portable and affordable to a wider audience.

International

Italy invades Abyssinia. The invasion of the country now known as Ethiopia was part of Mussolini's plan to create an Italian Empire. It was also an attempt to avenge Abyssinia's victory over the Italian army at Adowa in 1896.
Germany introduces conscription, breaking the disarmament clause of the Treaty of Versailles.

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