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Joan Collins

© estate of Cornel Lucas

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Joan Collins

by Cornel Lucas
modern C-type colour print from original negative, 1951
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 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.

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Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1951back to top

Current affairs

The Conservative Party wins the general election and Winston Churchill returns for a second term as prime minister.

Art and science

On the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Festival of Britain is held as a nationwide celebration of British culture, and as an impetus for post-war regeneration. As well as various art, science and industrial exhibitions and events, a major regeneration project was initiated for the South Bank area of London under the directorship of the architect, Hugh Casson.


Libya declares its sovereignty from Italian rule, becoming the first independent state to be created by the UN.
At the Treaty of San Francisco, 48 nations sign a peace treaty with Japan, officially ending the Pacific War - the last battleground of the Second World War.

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