The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Elisabeth Lutyens

© Mayotte Magnus / National Portrait Gallery, London

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Elisabeth Lutyens

by Mayotte Magnus
bromide print, August 1976
15 5/8 in. x 11 3/4 in. (400 mm x 297 mm)
Purchased, 1977
Photographs Collection
NPG x18622

Sitterback to top

  • (Agnes) Elisabeth Lutyens (1906-1983), Composer and musician; daughter of Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens. Sitter in 11 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Mayotte Magnus (1934-), Photographer; wife of Jorge ('J.S.') Lewinski. Artist of 82 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Magnus’s linear composition refers to Lutyens’ pioneering use of a serial technique. She was photographed in her North London home during her seventieth year, in which her lyric drama Iris and Osiris was first performed.

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. 293 Read entry

    Elisabeth Lutyens, one of the first and most important English composers to adopt 12-note techniques, was the daughter of the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. She studied composition at the Royal College of Music and the Paris Conservatoire. Though at first she worked in a late romantic style, she soon realized that her true idiom lay in serialism, and with typical decisiveness discarded fifty of her early works. An abrasive character, she dismissed the prevalent fashions in English composition as ‘cow-pat music’, and spent much of her time until the late 1950s in artistic isolation. Her works include six chamber concertos (1939-45), more than two hundred radio scores (including collaborations with Dylan Thomas and Louis MacNeice), and an opera Time Off? Not the Ghost of a Chance (1972), a virtuoso collage of music, pre-recorded tapes, dance and speech. But her greatest gifts were as a miniaturist in the manner of Webern and in the setting of words (usually for small choirs), tackling texts which range from Chaucer to Stevie Smith, and include African poems, letters by Flaubert, Japanese haiku and the writings of Wittgenstein.

    Mayotte Magnus is the French-born wife of Jorge Lewinski. She took up photography in 1970, winning a major Ilford photographic prize two years later. In recent years she has collaborated with her husband on a series of photographically illustrated books, and has worked for magazines, including Harpers & Queen and Fortune. This portrait was taken for her exhibition ‘Women’ at the National Portrait Gallery in 1977, and shows Lutyens at her home in North London in the year of the first production of the ritualistic drama Isis and Osiris, in a composition of hieratic stylization.

Placesback to top

Events of 1976back to top

Current affairs

Harold Wilson unexpectedly resigns as Prime Minister and is replaced by Leonard James Callaghan. Wilson's resignation honours list caused controversy due to the appearance of a number of wealthy businessmen whose principles were considered anathema to those of the party. It became known as the 'Lavender List' after it was alleged that it was drafted by Marcia Williams, the head of Wilson's political office, on lavender-coloured notepaper.

Art and science

The first commercial Concorde flights are made, operated by British Airways and Air France. The supersonic (faster than the speed of sound) aeroplane was developed through a British and French treaty, and operated until 2003 when it was retired due to falling passenger numbers following a crash in 2000.
The National Theatre opens on the South Bank in London under the artistic directorship of Lord Olivier.


North Vietnam invades and overpowers South Vietnam, reunifying the country as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam under communist rule.
240,000 people die in the Tangshan Earthquake in China; one of the greatest death tolls from an earthquake in history. The event was part of the 'Curse of 1976', a year that also saw the death of Mao Zedong, and the attempted seizure of power by the Gang of Four.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.