by Yousuf Karsh
bromide print, 1954
39 1/8 in. x 29 5/8 in. (995 mm x 753 mm)
Given by the photographer, Yousuf Karsh, 1984
Sitterback to top
- Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier (1907-1989), Actor, producer and director. Sitter in 114 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), Photographer. Artist associated with 159 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Olivier had spent the day acting and directing his film version of Richard III when Karsh took this photograph.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 468
Events of 1954back to top
Current affairsRoger Bannister runs the four-minute mile. Bannister was the first man to achieve the 'miracle mile', a feat that was thought by some to be impossible, beating his rival, the Australian John Landy, to the record. Bannister went on to a career as a distinguished neurologist.
Food rationing ends in Britain.
Art and scienceJ.R.R. Tolkien publishes the first two parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Tolkien was an Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon language and literature and drew on his scholarly interests in history, language and mythology to create the fictional land of Middle Earth where the books are set.
Williams Golding publishes, Lord of the Flies.
InternationalThe South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) is established in Bangkok. This international defence organisation was established as part of the 'containment' policy of limiting the influence of communism. SEATO was, however, found to be ineffective as the member organisations failed to agree on combined action; it was disbanded in 1977.
Do, draw and make!
Do, draw and make!
From building dens to food faces – enjoy our Playful Portraits activities and find out about some brilliant people!
Activities for children and families inspired by three healthcare heroes from our Collection.
Downloadable and web based resources to support learning at home linked to art, history, citizenship and literacy.
Tell us more
Framed & unframed prints
Choose your favourite portrait from our Collection as a framed or unframed print for your home.