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Photographs by John Gay, 1940s-1950s


81 Portraits in set

John Gay (1909-1999) was born Hans Gohler into a large family in Karslruhe, Germany and became interested in photography when he left school. He attended art school in Paris and worked in photography in Germany before leaving in 1933 after Hitler came to power with the family of a friend Walter Stern and settled in Halifax, Yorkshire where the Sterns became his adoptive family. Martha Stern was later to photograph Gustav Holst and these portraits became part of the Gay bequest. In 1939 he joined the Pioneer Corps having adopted the English name John Gay from the Beggar's Opera. On his marriage to Marie Arnheim in 1942, (she had left Berlin in 1936), he settled in London, moving to Hampstead in 1951 where he spent the rest of his life, working as a photographer principally of architecture, railway stations and graveyards and producing six books of his work Gay also worked as a potter. He took portraits for the Strand Magazine, under the editorship of MacDonald Hastings, until its closure in March 1950 and thereafter for Country Fair. 20 prints were acquired from the photographer in 1993 for use in various displays together with copies of the Strand containing his published work for the magazine. The remainder of his portrait work came to the Gallery as a bequest from his widow in 2003. Original negatives relating to most of the sittings were received by the gallery in May 2005.

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Martha Stern, by John Gay - NPG x128503

Martha Stern

by John Gay
quarter-plate glass negative, 1940s
NPG x128503

Sir Stanley Unwin, by John Gay - NPG x127762

Sir Stanley Unwin

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, published November 1947
NPG x127762

Graham Greene; Douglas Francis Jerrold, by John Gay - NPG x127763

Graham Greene; Douglas Francis Jerrold

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, published November 1947
NPG x127763

Sir Victor Gollancz, by John Gay - NPG x127764

Sir Victor Gollancz

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, published November 1947
NPG x127764

Sir Allen Lane, by John Gay - NPG x127765

Sir Allen Lane

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, published November 1947
NPG x127765

Sir Geoffrey Cust Faber, by John Gay - NPG x127766

Sir Geoffrey Cust Faber

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, published November 1947
NPG x127766

Alexander Stuart Frere (né Reeves), by John Gay - NPG x127767

Alexander Stuart Frere (né Reeves)

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, published November 1947
NPG x127767

Billy Collins, by John Gay - NPG x127768

Billy Collins

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, published November 1947
NPG x127768

Desmond John Newman Flower, by John Gay - NPG x127769

Desmond John Newman Flower

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, published November 1947
NPG x127769

Marianne Straub, by John Gay - NPG x200987

Marianne Straub

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200987

Margaret Leischner, by John Gay - NPG x200982

Margaret Leischner

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200982

Margaret Leischner, by John Gay - NPG x200983

Margaret Leischner

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200983

Margaret Leischner, by John Gay - NPG x200984

Margaret Leischner

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200984

Margaret Leischner, by John Gay - NPG x200985

Margaret Leischner

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200985

Margaret Leischner, by John Gay - NPG x200986

Margaret Leischner

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200986

Lucienne Day (née Conradi), by John Gay - NPG x200988

Lucienne Day (née Conradi)

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200988

Lucienne Day (née Conradi), by John Gay - NPG x200989

Lucienne Day (née Conradi)

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200989

Lucienne Day (née Conradi), by John Gay - NPG x200990

Lucienne Day (née Conradi)

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200990

Alec Hunter, by John Gay - NPG x200991

Alec Hunter

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200991

Sir Robert Vere ('Robin') Darwin; Madge Garland, by John Gay - NPG x200992

Sir Robert Vere ('Robin') Darwin; Madge Garland

by John Gay
2 1/4 inch square film negative, circa 1947
NPG x200992