by Cecil Beaton
bromide print on white card mount, 1940s
9 1/2 in. x 7 1/2 in. (240 mm x 190 mm)
Given by Cecil Beaton, 1968
Sitterback to top
- Moira Shearer (Lady Kennedy) (1926-2006), Ballet dancer, actress and writer. Sitter in 11 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1103 portraits, Sitter associated with 358 portraits.
Events of 1940back to top
Current affairsFollowing the German invasion of the Netherlands, Belgium and France, Neville Chamberlain resigns and Churchill is appointed Prime Minister making the famous speech: 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.'
The Battle of Britain ends the Phoney War with Germany's attack on the nation from the air. Britain's cities, airbases and ports are bombed during the Blitz.
Art and scienceWith little access to sculpture materials, and a bombed out studio Henry Moore starts experimenting with drawings of war subjects. After taking shelter in a London Underground station during an air raid Moore was inspired to begin a series of Shelter Drawings. With a commission from the War Artists Advisory Committee, headed by Kenneth Clark, these became some of the most popular example of official war art.
InternationalBritain's attempt to defend France against German invasion by landing troops on the French coast ends in failure; France surrenders and Britain is left to face the Axis Powers alone. While the Dunkirk Landings were a failure, the heroic rescue of troops by a fleet of English civilian boats was a victory for morale, and the 'Dunkirk Spirit' came to stand as an emblem of British triumph in adversity.
Recommended Exhibitions & displays
- The World's Most Photographed
- The Royal Ballet at 75
- Britain 1960-1990
- Cecil Beaton Drawings
- Centenaries and Centenarians
- Handlist of names in the Reference Collection
- Photographic holdings - print and negative collections
- Learn more
- In Close Up: Laurence Olivier
- Women Poets and Photography, 1860–1970
- Bill Brandt: Portraits 1982