Geoffrey Rigden; Shirley O'Neill; Michael Blake; Humphrey Ocean; Ruby Ocean; Miranda Argyle

1 portrait of Miranda Argyle

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Geoffrey Rigden; Shirley O'Neill; Michael Blake; Humphrey Ocean; Ruby Ocean; Miranda Argyle

by Harry Diamond
gelatin silver print, 1983
6 7/8 in. x 10 1/2 in. (175.5 mm x 266 mm) image size
Bequeathed by Harry Diamond, 2012
Photographs Collection
NPG x210041

Artistback to top

  • Harry Diamond (1924-2009), Photographer. Artist or producer of 219 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.

Sittersback to top

This portraitback to top

The artist Michael Blake has said of the portrait: 'Regarding the occasion, it was at the Open Studios in a warehouse on the river in Wapping, 1983. Probably the last one before development of the warehouse, when you could still smell spice dust in the brickwork. It's Shirley O'Neil's studio. I was a contemporary of Humphrey at Canterbury College of Art in 1971 and we remain friends. I stayed in Kent with my partner and daughter after leaving college, living with Geoffrey Rigden and his wife and daughter. He was a part time visitor at the college and was our tutor and a great painter. Anyway the connection is really Canterbury Art College and our friendship with Harry Diamond. Humphrey, Miranda and their girls used to visit us in Kent for a weekend by the sea in a large studio I had in Herne Bay. Indeed, a photo I took of Humphrey on one of those visits is included in the new book 'Humphrey Ocean' published by the RA.'

Events of 1983back to top

Current affairs

Margaret Thatcher wins a landslide majority for the Conservative Party at the general election. Although her premiership had previously been unpopular, the British victory in the Falklands coupled with divisions in Michael Foot's Labour opposition, helped her to gain popularity and win the most decisive election victory since 1945.

Art and science

The British sitcom Blackadder is aired for the first time. Each of the four series followed the character of the anti-hero Edmund Blackadder and took place during a different period of British history. The first series, The Black Adder, was a satire of medieval England during the rein of the fictitious Richard IV, and frequently lifted famous lines from Shakespeare.


The armed struggle between Tamil militants and the Sinhalese-dominated government of Sri Lanka begin with the Black July pogrom. Mobs (allegedly supported by the government) started attacking and murdering Tamils following an attack by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on government soldiers. Civil war between the government and Tamil nationalists has continued sporadically ever since.

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Michael Blake

28 November 2019, 21:34

Left to right: Geoffrey Rigden, Shirley O'Neil, Michael Blake, Humphrey Ocean and Ruby, and Miranda Argyll