Anna May Wong

1 portrait of Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong, by Dorothy Wilding, hand-coloured by  Beatrice Johnson, 1929 - NPG x44636 - © William Hustler and Georgina Hustler / National Portrait Gallery, London

© William Hustler and Georgina Hustler / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Anna May Wong

by Dorothy Wilding, hand-coloured by Beatrice Johnson
hand-coloured bromide print, 1929
17 1/8 in. x 12 1/4 in. (435 mm x 310 mm) image size
Given by Beatrice Johnson, 1991
Photographs Collection
NPG x44636

Sitterback to top

Artistsback to top

  • Beatrice Johnson (1906-2000). Artist associated with 12 portraits.
  • Dorothy Wilding (1893-1976), Photographer. Artist associated with 2147 portraits, Sitter in 30 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In her autobiography In Pursuit of Perfection (1958), Dorothy Wilding recalled photographing Anna May Wong at her studio at 22 Old Bond Street. 'Anna May Wong... had the first long red fingernails I had ever seen. When I lifted her hands to 'drape' them', they were so fragile that one felt one was holding the most delicate snowdrops. She was the softest and gentlest creature one can imagine.' Amongst Wilding's large staff she employed the artist Beatrice Johnson to paint backdrops and produce painted colour versions of some of her portraits.

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Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1929back to top

Current affairs

The first election held under universal suffrage is a victory for Labour. Ramsay Macdonald returned for his second term as Prime Minster, and appointed Margaret Grace Bondfield as the first woman Cabinet Minister.

Art and science

Two classic books about the First World War are published: All Quiet on the Western Front, by war veteran, Erich Maria Remarque, tells of the horrors of war and the returning German soldiers' feelings of detachment from civilian life; while Robert Grave's autobiography Goodbye to All That, aimed to describe the author's experiences of the war so that they 'need never be thought about again'.


The 24th October 1929 becomes known as Black Thursday when the US Stock Exchange Collapses and millions are lost. The event was the start of the Wall Street Crash, which in turn contributed towards the Great Depression: a major international recession that lasted through most of the 1930s.

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