9 of 114 portraits of Aldous Huxley
by Howard Coster
gelatin silver print, 1934
11 1/4 in. x 9 1/4 in. (283 mm x 234 mm)
Given by the estate of Howard Coster, 1959
Artistback to top
- Howard Coster (1885-1959), Photographer. Artist associated with 9349 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Coster portrayed the writer Huxley just two years after the publication of his most famous work, the dystopian novel Brave New World. Stricken with a serious eye disease as a child, Huxley had impaired vision and wore thick corrective lenses. Here the photographer has used Huxley’s glasses to partially conceal his eyes, suggesting a deep inner vision while at the same time revealing the extent of his weakened sight, which improved in later life.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 66 Read entry
Howard Coster (1885-1959) portrayed the writer Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) just two years after the publication of his most famous work, the dystopian novel Brave New World (1932). Stricken with a serious eye disease as a child, Huxley had impaired vision and wore thick corrective lenses. Here the photographer has used Huxley’s glasses to partially conceal his eyes, suggesting a deep inner vision, while at the same time revealing the extent of his weakened sight, which improved in later life. The image also serves as a metaphor for the optical properties of the camera, which was a subject of great interest to Modern photographers such as Coster.
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- Pepper, Terence; Strong, Arthur, Howard Coster's Celebrity Portraits, 1985 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 28 June - 8 September 1985), p. 10
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 323
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- A Century of Photography, 1840-1940 (17 October 2016 - 29 October 2017)
Events of 1934back to top
Current affairsSir Stafford Cripps represents the miners of Gresford Colliery in Wrexham at an inquiry into the recent gas explosion and fire which killed 263 miners, and three rescue workers in one of the worst mining disasters in British history.
Art and sciencePercy Shaw invents 'Cat's eyes'. The development of road reflectors increased safety on the roads at night and proved to be particularly useful during the wartime blackout. They are still used today.
Dylan Thomas published his first volume of poetry, 18 Poems.
InternationalStalin and Hitler consolidate dictatorial power by 'purging' their opponents. In the Soviet Union, members of the Communist Party and particular sectors of society such as the intelligentsia were targeted in the 'Great Purge', while in Germany Hitler murdered hundreds of potential opponents in the SA during the 'Night of the Long Knives'.
Thousands in the USA are forced to flee their homes to escape the Dust Bowl storms.