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The Lennon Family

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Photograph Robert Whitaker

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The Lennon Family

by Robert Whitaker
cibachrome print, May 1965
20 1/4 in. x 16 in. (516 mm x 409 mm) uneven
Purchased, 1999
Primary Collection
NPG P732

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • Robert Whitaker (1939-2011), Photographer. Artist associated with 17 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

First met at Liverpool Art College in 1957, Lennon secretly married Cynthia Powell, away from media attention, on 23 August 1962. The following year, their son Julian was born ten days before From Me to You reached Number one. The young family moved from Kensington to their home 'Kenwood' in Weybridge, Surrey in 1964. Here Whitaker was attempting to recreate the appearance of an 1860s photograph 'showing a happy hard-working family doing their best to earn a living'.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 145 Read entry

    John Lennon met Cynthia Powell at the Liverpool College of Art. An attraction of opposites, her calm personality balanced his raw energy. Their marriage was problematic to Brian Epstein, anxious about a teenage idol appearing as a family man. Cynthia remained at home with Julian, while John played the lad on the road. The inevitable disrupted pattern of the marriage was made worse by Cynthia's strong disapproval of John's experiments with drugs. Then, in September 1966, John met Yoko Ono: she offered him an avant-garde adventure, a stimulating creative mental and physical partnership beyond The Beatles and Cynthia.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 739

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1965back to top

Current affairs

Sir 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 science

Julie 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.


President 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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