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John Lennon

Photograph Robert Whitaker

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John Lennon

by Robert Whitaker
cibachrome print, 1965
12 in. x 16 in. (306 mm x 408 mm)
Purchased, 1999
Primary Collection
NPG P734

Sitterback to top

  • John Lennon (1940-1980), Musician; co-founder and singer for The Beatles. Sitter in 80 portraits, Artist of 2 portraits.

Artistback to top

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

This portraitback to top

Photographed in the garden of his Weybridge home, the year that the Beatles received their MBEs - in recognition of the worldwide 'Beatlemania' phenomenon. John Lennon had a taste for the bizarre and surreal in the visual arts, and in the presentation of his own image. Robert Whitaker claims this as one of his favourite images and acknowledges the inspiration being a meditation on Narcissus and a remembered quote from 'Euripides referring to flowers in people's eyes'.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 149 Read entry

    John's school friends waited eagerly for his satirical drawings of the teachers. At the Liverpool College of Art he did little, but impressed teacher Arthur Ballard with his originality. In 1970, under Yoko's influence he produced and exhibited a collection of lithographs, 'Bag One'; a vice squad raid ensured good sales. The collection is now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Much of his art was whimsical and humorous, and his later work such as the series 'Dakota Days', was suffused with love for Yoko and their son, Sean.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 376

Placesback to top

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.

International

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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