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Patrick Heron

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Patrick Heron

by Ida Kar
2 1/4 inch square film negative, 1961
Purchased, 1999
Photographs Collection
NPG x132979

Sitterback to top

  • Patrick Heron (1920-1999), Painter and art critic. Sitter in 14 portraits, Artist of 5 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Ida Kar (1908-1974), Photographer. Artist associated with 1551 portraits, Sitter in 136 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Freestone, Clare (appreciation) Wright, Karen (appreciation), Ida Kar Bohemian Photographer, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 10 March to 19 June 2011), p. 118 Read entry

    Heron was born in Leeds, but spent much of his childhood in Cornwall. In the late 1930s he studied part-time at the Slade School of Art in London. As a conscientious objector during the Second World War, Heron worked as an agricultural labourer and then at the Leach Pottery, St Ives. In 1956 he bought a home in Zennor, Cornwall, called Eagles Nest, where his family had lived for a time in the late 1920s. The house and its surroundings became a centre for artists and writers in St Ives and central to all Heron's future work. From that time he moved away from figurative painting in favour of abstraction, becoming a member of the Penwith Society in 1952. In 1945 and 1946 Heron wrote reviews for the New English Weekly, and was art critic for the New Statesman and Nation (1947-54). He also wrote about art education and fought to stop the military taking over the West Penwith landscape. Among his most influential written works is The Changing Forms of Art, published in 1955, the year in which her work became predominantly abstract. Kar also photographed Heron along with his wife, Delia, and daughters, Katharine and Susanna, at Eagles Nest for the Tatler.

Placesback to top

Events of 1961back to top

Current affairs

Peter Benenson's article The Forgotten Prisoners is published internationally, inspiring the founding of the human rights organisation, Amnesty International.
The philosopher and peace activist Bertrand Russell is imprisoned for inciting civil disobedience during a sit down demonstration at the Ministry of Defence and Hyde Park.
The farthing coin - used in Britain for the last 7 centuries - ceases to be legal tender.

Art and science

Rudolf Nureyev defects from the USSR fearing that the KGB would arrest him for being gay and for fraternising with foreigners. After seeking asylum in Paris he set up home in London at the Royal Ballet and began his famous partnership with Margot Fonteyn.
The satirical magazine, Private Eye is first published.

International

The East German government erects the Berlin Wall, ceasing free movement between East and West Berlin. The barrier prevented citizens of Soviet controlled East Germany from crossing the border into West Germany to work, or to defect.
Yuri Gagarin, the soviet cosmonaut, becomes the first man in space orbiting the earth on the 12th April.

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