Joan Collins

© estate of Cornel Lucas

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Joan Collins

by Cornel Lucas
chromogenic print from original negative, 1951; printed 1986
15 3/8 in. x 12 1/4 in. (390 mm x 310 mm)
Given by Pinewood Studios, 1986
Photographs Collection
NPG x27871

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Cornel Lucas (1920-2012), Photographer. Artist or producer of 68 portraits, Sitter in 5 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. 261 Read entry

    The daughter of a theatrical agent, Joan Collins went into show-business in her teens, and her good looks and good sense have carried her triumphantly through the vicissitudes of a long career. From the 19505 to the 1970s her sultry charms made her a popular leading lady in a variety of British and international films, and from 1981 she has acted in the television soap-opera Dynasty, which has made her the most famous, and imitated, actress in America. Her autobiography Past Imperfect appeared in 1978. In the same year she produced and starred in the film of her sister Jackie's novel The Stud, and The Bitch followed in 1979. She has recently herself written a best-selling novel. With her indomitable glamour, voice like 'a pout made audible', and the ability to laugh at herself, she has become a cult figure on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Cornel Lucas, after studying photography at the Regent Street and Northern Polytechnics, went into the film industry in 1937 as a laboratory technician, and turned to full-time photography in 1942. From 1946 to 1959 (when he left films to concentrate on fashion and advertising photography), he worked for Rank, Columbia and Universal Studios as a stills photographer, in a period when the 'star' system dominated the industry. To the British film studios and their stars he brought the glamour of Hollywood, and his female subjects have an aura of utopian gorgeousness. His portrait of Joan Collins, which was commissioned by Pinewood Studios, was taken at the very beginning of her film career.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1986back to top

Current affairs

Hampton Court Palace is devastated by fire. Much of the third floor and the roof of the building were destroyed, although, thanks to the courage of the fire fighters, only one painting and one piece of furniture were ruined.
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, marries Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey.

Art and science

Poems on the Underground, the brainchild of American writer Judith Chernaik, is launched by London Underground. A rolling programme of poems is displayed in tube train carriages, bringing contemporary and classic poetry to commuters.
The Independent Newspaper is first published.
Artists, Gilbert and George win the Turner Prize.


An explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station leads to nuclear meltdown in the reactor and causes massive nuclear contamination over Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, western Europe, the UK and Ireland, and even North America. The 2005 Chenobyl Forum attributed 56 direct deaths to the disaster and estimated that 9,000 people may die from some form of cancer as a result of exposure to radiation.

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