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Audrey Hepburn

14 of 53 portraits of Audrey Hepburn

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Audrey Hepburn

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print, March 1954
10 1/8 in. x 9 5/8 in. (256 mm x 246 mm)
Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and allocated to the Gallery, 1991
Photographs Collection
NPG x40181

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist or producer associated with 1114 portraits, Sitter associated with 360 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 220 Read entry

    Born in Belgium to an Anglo-Irish father and a Dutch baroness, Audrey Hepburn entered an English boarding school aged six, returning to Holland at the outbreak of the Second World War. She trained in ballet in Amsterdam, and then in London with Marie Rambert, before making her London stage debut in 1948. The French novelist Colette, who first saw Hepburn while she was filming in Monte Carlo, recommended she star in the adaptation of her novella Gigi on Broadway in 1951. Her grace, charm and pencil-slim figure made her famous in films such as Roman Holiday (1953), Funny Face (1957) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). In her later years Hepburn acted as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF; she made her final film appearance in Always (1989).

    This portrait by Cecil Beaton (1904–80), which was taken for Vogue magazine also appears in his book Face of the World (1957), where he describes the essence of Hepburn’s impact: ‘It took the rubble of Belgium, an English accent and an American success to launch the striking personality that best exemplified our post-war Zeitgeist.’ Beaton photographed Hepburn on a number of occasions, particularly during the filming of My Fair Lady (1964).

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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