6 of 7 portraits of James Joyce
by Berenice Abbott
bromide print, 1926
9 3/8 in. x 7 5/8 in. (238 mm x 194 mm)
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This portraitback to top
This intimate portrait of Irish writer James Joyce is considered one of the defining images of the author, known for his experimental ‘stream of consciousness’ novels Ulysses (1922) and Finnegan’s Wake (1939). American photographer Abbott photographed Joyce on two occasions, the first in 1926 at his home in Paris, the second in 1928 at her studio. Abbott was a former assistant to Man Ray, employing softly diffused lighting to suggest a complex, introverted character. Since the 1910s, Joyce had suffered from eye problems. He had, in all, eleven operations on his eyes and at the time of this photograph was blind in his left eye.
Linked publicationsback to top
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Events of 1926back to top
Current affairsIn response to wage cuts and increased working hours for coal miners recommended by the Samuel Commission, the Trade Union Council calls a General Strike of workers in the key industries. Although over 1.5 million workers took part, the TUC finally gave in after nine days and called off the strike. The Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act of 1927 made it harder for workers to strike.
Art and scienceA.A. Milne publishes Winnie-the-Pooh. The series of popular children's books featured the character Christopher Robin (named after Milne's son) and a cast of animals based on his stuffed-toys including Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga and Roo.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is published. This was Agatha Christie's first 'whodunnit' story featuring Hecule Poirot, the Belgium Detective.
InternationalThe League of Nations accepts Germany as the sixth permanent member on the council deeming it a 'peace-loving country'. This confidence, however, was short lived with Germany leaving the League with the accession of Adolf Hitler to power in 1933.
See this portrait
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibitions and displays
- Photography: A Public Art, 1840 - 1939
Until 7 October 2018
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Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer