1 of 13 portraits of Joe Orton
by Lewis Morley
bromide print, 1965
20 in. x 16 1/8 in. (508 mm x 410 mm)
Given by the photographer, Lewis Morley, 1992
Artistback to top
- Lewis Morley (1925-2013), Photographer. Artist of 306 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 90 Read entry
Lewis Morley (1925-2013) chronicled the new idols of 1960s society in a style that captured the buoyant spirit of the times. In 1965 he was commissioned to photograph the playwright Joe Orton (1933-67) to publicise the US opening of the play Entertaining Mr Sloane. He was told that Orton wished to be photographed like a body-builder and so was startled when confronted by his slim frame. Realising that photographs of the playwright in his underwear would be deemed risqué, Morley nonetheless agreed to photograph Orton as he
wished. The resulting portrait reveals Orton’s nonconformist and mischievous nature. He was a pioneer of black farce, his works characterised by a stylish and macabre outrageousness, and he often collaborated with his partner Kenneth Halliwell. Their tempestuous relationship ended in tragedy when, in August 1967, Halliwell murdered Orton and took his own life.
- Pepper, Terence, Lewis Morley: Photographer of the Sixties, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 15 September 1989 - 7 January 1990), p. 22
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 471
- Toksvig, Sandi; Dyer, Richard, Gay Icons, 2009 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 July - 18 October 2009), p. 90
Placesback to top
- Place made: United Kingdom: England, London (Morley's studio above The Establishment Club, Greek Street, London)
Mediaback to top
Events of 1965back to top
Current affairsSir Winston Churchill dies after suffering a stroke at the age of 90. By Royal Decree his body lay in state for three days before he was given a State Funeral (a very rare honour for a non-Royal). Representatives from over 100 countries attended the funeral and thousands of people watched the procession of his coffin down the Thames.
Art and scienceJulie Christie stars in John Schlesinger's film Darling, a film that captures fashionable London in the 1960s, while critiquing the superficiality of the jet-setting society. The film has subsequently been itself criticised for being out-of-touch with the realities of the day.
The Post Office Tower (now the BT tower) opens for use, housing microwave aerials to carry telecommunications traffic from London.
InternationalPresident Johnson sends US troops to assist South Vietnam against communist North Vietnam and domestic nationalist insurgents. Johnson's plan for a short, limited war was soon quashed by North Vietnam's strategy of protracted war. As the conflict dragged on the US government instituted a draft, sparking anti-war protests that would continue until American involvement ended in 1973.
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