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Stevie Smith

5 of 7 portraits of Stevie Smith

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Stevie Smith

by Godfrey Argent
bromide print, 5 February 1970
10 7/8 in. x 7 5/8 in. (275 mm x 193 mm)
Commissioned, 1970
Photographs Collection
NPG x165749

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Godfrey Argent (1937-2006), Photographer. Artist or producer associated with 799 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

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In this intriguing photograph, the enigmatic Stevie Smith stands beneath an image of a nineteenth-century woman. In contrast to the woman's genteel profile, Smith directly confronts the viewer (even her brooch gazes like a third eye). She is clad in one of her trademark 'school-girlish' outfits, but this public image belied her shrewd, uncompromising personality. As Glenda Jackson remarked in a 1977 interview: 'You’ve only to look at the photographs to know that this was a woman who walked through hell many times'.

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Events of 1970back to top

Current affairs

Edward 'Ted' Heath wins a surprise victory for the Conservative party at the general election, becoming Prime Minister. Opinion polls had predicted a comfortable Labour victory, but with a failing economy, the Tories snatched a narrow last minute majority.

Art and science

Germaine Greer publishes The Female Eunuch, an influential feminist text arguing that women's sexuality and capacity for action are repressed by the family and their roles in society. Greer suggested that women should get to know their bodies and become empowered by their sexuality. The book was an international best seller.


Four aircraft are hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. The planes were landed in Cairo, Jordan and London and the hijackers demanded the release of Political Prisoners in exchange for the hostages. Several prisoners were returned and three of the planes were blown up after most of the hostages were release.
Four students are shot dead by national guardsmen during a protest against the Vietnam War in America.

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