by Olive Edis
whole-plate autochrome, 1926
Bequeathed by (Mary) Olive Edis (Mrs Galsworthy), 1956
Sitterback to top
- (James) Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937), Prime Minister. Sitter associated with 72 portraits.
Artistback to top
- (Mary) Olive Edis (Mrs Galsworthy) (1876-1955), Photographer. Artist associated with 428 portraits, Sitter in 18 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 197 Read entry
The illegitimate son of a Scottish farm-girl, MacDonald, who was born in a two-roomed 'but and ben' at Lossiemouth in Morayshire, worked his way up through the Socialist ranks to become the first Labour Prime Minister of this country in 1924. His initial ministry was short-lived, and in 1929 was followed by a two-year term, which was brought to an abrupt end in August 1931 by the country's devastating financial crisis. On the fall of the Labour government, MacDonald, who was an ingenuous and dedicated man, immediately accepted the proffered premiership of a Government of National Unity, thereby alienating his former colleagues, and creating a breach with his party which was never to be healed.
This autochrome was probably taken in 1926, for it shows MacDonald wearing the robes of an LLD. of the University of Wales, an honorary degree which he was awarded in that year. As early as 1912 Olive Edis was using the Lumière autochrome plate, which had been introduced in 1907, and her work in this medium reveals a subtle sense of colour and atmosphere. She also patented her own autochrome viewer, of which there is an example in the Gallery's collection.
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 third 'whodunit' novel featuring Hercule Poirot, the Belgian 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.
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