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Margot Fonteyn

Margot Fonteyn, by Yousuf Karsh, 1957 - NPG P490(32) - © Karsh / Camera Press

© Karsh / Camera Press

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Margot Fonteyn

by Yousuf Karsh
bromide print, 1957
19 5/8 in. x 15 3/4 in. (498 mm x 400 mm)
Given by the photographer, Yousuf Karsh, 1991
Primary Collection
NPG P490(32)

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), Photographer. Artist associated with 156 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Fonteyn is shown here as Cinderella in Ashton's ballet, with music by Sergei Prokofiev and designs by Jean-Denis Malclès.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 85 Read entry

    Prima ballerina assoluta of the Royal Ballet, Dame Margot Fonteyn (1919-91) joined the Vic-Wells Ballet in 1934 and made her debut as a snowflake in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. She became lifelong muse of the choreographer Frederick Ashton, who created many roles for her, including the title roles in Daphnis and Chloë (1951), Sylvia (1952) and Ondine (1958). Her celebrated dance partnerships included most famously, Rudolf Nureyev, with whom she performed all over the world. Fonteyn is shown here as Cinderella in Ashton’s ballet. Although she is shown in traditional three-quarters profile and with the direct, artificial lighting favoured by Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), the Armenian-born photographer has posed Fonteyn smiling, with arms raised, as if enacting a moment from the ballet. Consequently, the lines between Fonteyn’s own personality and her role as a dancer are blurred.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 222

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1957back to top

Current affairs

Harold Macmillan takes over as Conservative prime minister, manoeuvring Eden out of power after his poor handling of the Suez Crisis the previous year.
The Wolfenden Report recommends that homosexuality should no longer be a criminal offence. It still took ten years, however, before any changes were made to the law on homosexuality with the Sexual Offences Act in 1967.

Art and science

The Today Programme is first broadcast on Radio 4. This early morning current affairs programme is known for breaking major stories early, and for its hard-hitting approach and touch interviewing style. Presenters have included: Robert Robinson, Brian Redhead, Libby Purves, Jenni Murray, Sue MacGregor, John Humphrys, Anna Ford and James Naughtie.

International

The Treaty of Rome leads to the formation of the European Economic Community. Officially beginning on 1st January 1958, the EEC established a European Common Market, where goods, services, labour and capital could move freely within the European member countries, and shared policies were agreed for labour, social welfare, agriculture, transport, and foreign trade. The EEC preceded the European Community, and the European Union.

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