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Beatrice Gladys Lillie (Lady Peel)

Beatrice Gladys Lillie (Lady Peel), by Angus McBean, 1954 - NPG P903 - Angus McBean Photograph. © Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University.

Angus McBean Photograph. © Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University.

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Beatrice Gladys Lillie (Lady Peel)

by Angus McBean
bromide print, 1954
9 1/2 in. x 11 3/8 in. (240 mm x 290 mm)
Purchased, 2001
Primary Collection
NPG P903

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Angus McBean (1904-1990), Photographer. Artist associated with 271 portraits, Sitter in 79 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Pepper, Terence, Angus McBean Portraits, 2006 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 July to 22 October 2006), p. 82 Read entry

    The daughter of a Canadian government official, Beatrice Lillie left school at fifteen, forming a singing trio with her mother and sister. She made her London debut in 1914 and became Lady Peel in 1920 when she married Sir Robert Peel. Widowed in 1934, she continued a transatlantic career that had begun with her Broadway debut in 1924 in Charlot's Revue. For many years she remained the toast of the two continents and was photographed by McBean twice for his surrealist series, first in 1938 and then in 1940 to coincide with her appearance in All Clear. This image shows her in front of the drop curtain from An Evening with Beatrice Lillie (1954), a very successful revue that started in America in 1952. After it had toured the United States and Canada it was brought to London by Hugh Beaumont and travelled to other centres including Bournemouth, where McBean made this photograph.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1954back to top

Current affairs

Roger Bannister runs the four-minute mile. Bannister was the first man to achieve the 'miracle mile', a feat that was thought by some to be impossible, beating his rival, the Australian John Landy, to the record. Bannister went on to a career as a distinguished neurologist.
Food rationing ends in Britain.

Art and science

J.R.R. Tolkien publishes the first two parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Tolkien was an Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon language and literature and drew on his scholarly interests in history, language and mythology to create the fictional land of Middle Earth where the books are set.
Williams Golding publishes, Lord of the Flies.

International

The South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) is established in Bangkok. This international defence organisation was established as part of the 'containment' policy of limiting the influence of communism. SEATO was, however, found to be ineffective as the member organisations failed to agree on combined action; it was disbanded in 1977.

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