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Alan Bennett

© Derry Moore

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Alan Bennett

by Derry Moore, 12th Earl of Drogheda
colour print, 1992
13 5/8 in. x 11 5/8 in. (347 mm x 297 mm)
Purchased, 1993
Primary Collection
NPG P525

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

Postcards on his mantelpiece include Howard Coster's 1937 photograph of W H Auden from the National Portrait Gallery's collection. One of 14 prints acquired from Derry Moore's 1993 twenty year retrospective.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Portraits, p. 135
  • 100 Writers, p. 5, 140
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 49
  • Tremain, Rose (essay), BP Portrait Award 2010, 2010 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 24 June to 19 September 2010), p. 11
  • Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 247 Read entry

    Born in Leeds, Alan Bennett studied at the University of Oxford, where he performed with the Oxford Revue. His collaboration with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe (Edinburgh, 1960) brought him instant acclaim. Notable successes on stage, screen and radio include the stage play A Question of Attribution (1988) and the television monologues Talking Heads (1988). The Lady in the Van (first broadcast on radio in 2009) was based on Mrs Shepherd, who lived on Bennett’s driveway; his autobiographical works include Telling Tales (2000) and Untold Stories (2005). Bennett’s droll humour and compassion have made his readings widely popular. The History Boys won three Laurence Olivier awards in 2005, and a film adaptation was released the following year. More recently his plays The Habit of Art (2009) and People (2012) have been staged at the National Theatre, London.

    Derry Moore (b.1937), best known as a photographer of people in architectural interiors, became a professional photographer in 1971, after studying with Bill Brandt. His photograph of Bennett includes the sitter’s mantelpiece replete with postcards, one of which shows Howard Coster’s 1937 photograph of W. H. Auden from the Gallery’s collection.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1992back to top

Current affairs

The Church of England votes narrowly in favour of the ordination of women priests. The first women priests were ordained in 1994, inspiring the popular sitcom The Vicar of Dibley.
John Major is forced to take the pound off the European Exchange Rate Mechanism after Black Wednesday, when currency dealers continued selling sterling despite a dramatic increase in interest rates. The event damaged the Conservative party's reputation irreparably.

Art and science

The long-running sitcom Absolutely Fabulous airs for the first time on the BBC starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as style-obsessed, middle-aged media luvvies Eddy and Patsy. June Whitfield played Eddy's mother, and Julia Sawalha her long-suffering daughter Saffy (or, 'sweetie darling').


Members of the European Community sign the Maastricht Treaty leading to the creation of the European Union. The treaty led to the creation of the 'Euro' currency and its policy was based on a 'three pillars structure' concerned with: 1. Community. 2 . Foreign and Security Policy. 3. Criminal Matters.
At a referendum, Bosnia and Herzegovina vote to become a separate state from Yugoslavia. Civil war soon broke out.

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