by Angus McBean
vintage bromide print, 1941
17 1/8 in. x 13 1/2 in. (434 mm x 344 mm) sight
Artistback to top
- Angus McBean (1904-1990), Photographer. Artist associated with 276 portraits, Sitter in 79 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Pepper, Terence, Angus McBean Portraits, 2006 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 July to 22 October 2006), p. 55 Read entry
The professional artist's model described his photographic sitting with McBean in his book The Naked Civil Servant (1968): '... he took about a dozen pictures of me in three-quarters of an hour. ... Though it was something that he did every day of his life, Mr McBean longed to take photographs as fervently as I desired to be photographed. He worked very quickly and methodically, his instructions as clear as lenses. "Lick your lower lip and let it hang" and, the moment before the camera clicked, "Pull your ears back." When I asked him what portrait photography was all about he said, "It's simple. They want to be beautiful."’ Crisp also appears in a mirror reflection in Kurt Hutton’s photo-essay on McBean documenting how the notorious surreal portrait of Diana Churchill was taken for Picture Post. Crisp was in a close relationship with McBean during this period, and the two men's mothers were also social acquaintances in Brighton.
Events of 1941back to top
Current affairsThe Blitz continues with sustained Luftwaffe attacks on British cities. As the bombing went on the urban population got used to the black out, the air raid sirens and nights spent in shelter. The idea emerged (to some extent a myth) of the 'spirit of the Blitz' where people pulled together united, disregarding traditional class and social divisions.
Art and scienceFrank Whittle demonstrates the first test-flight of a plane powered by jet propulsion. Although the German, Hans von Ohain, built the first jet plane, Whittle was the first to patent a design for the jet engine (in 1930), and his subsequent work helped to advance the technology and made Britain leaders in the field.
InternationalThe Soviet Union and America join the Allies. The Soviet Union was forced to switch sides after Hitler attacked in June 1941, reneging the Soviet-Nazi pact. Six months later the US Navy was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbour. The following day the USA declared war on Japan, and three days later Germany and Italy declared war on America.
Visit From Your Armchair
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.
Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.
Sculptures in 360°
See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.
David Hockney: Drawing from Life
Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.
- Fergus Greer: Photographer in Focus
- Photographer in Focus: David Gwinnutt
- The World's Most Photographed
- The Royal Ballet at 75
- Photographic holdings - print and negative collections
- Surreal and Solarised Photographs
- Photographically Illustrated Periodicals
- In Close Up: Laurence Olivier
- Portraits of Alec Guinness
- Blow Up: Sixties Photography Exposed
- Shakespeare: Stage and Screen
- Faces of Wales
Tell us more
Framed & unframed prints