Michael Peto Photographs: Mandela to McCartney
Past display archive
17 September 2013 - 12 June 2014
Mary Ure; Elizabeth Shaw
by Michael Peto
29 October 1967
Other celebrated subjects in the display will include Samuel Beckett photographed in his Paris apartment in 1961, Nelson Mandela photographed during a brief visit to London in June 1962, Jennie Lee photographed near the Houses of Parliament in 1965, and Paul McCartney with The Beatles during the making of the Richard Lester directed film Help! (1965). One of Peto’s last sittings featured in the display shows a young Ian McKellen at the time of his success in the Prospect theatre production of Richard II in 1969.
Born in 1908 in Bata, Hungary, Peto settled in London at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, working firstly as a writer. He took up photography in 1947 mainly to illustrate his own work. His photographs were first published in The Observer in March 1949. He became a regular contributor alongside other celebrated photojournalists including Jane Bown, Peter Keen and David Sim. During the 1950s and 1960s, Peto documented social issues and the key cultural and political figures of the era. His celebrated publications include The Dancer’s World (1963) with Nigel Gosling and About Britain (1967) with Kenneth Harris. Following Peto’s death in 1970, his archive of 130,000 original negatives and vintage prints was donated by his family to the University of Dundee.
© National Portrait Gallery, London
View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.
Artist and sitter interviews
Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.
Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.
- Brendan Behan and Beatrice Behan (née Ffrench-Salkeld) (NPG x137671)
- Samuel Beckett (NPG x137676)
- Nelson Mandela (NPG x137674)
- Iris Murdoch (NPG x137675)
- Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn (NPG x137680)
- Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (NPG x137670)
- Jennie Lee (NPG x137673)
- The Beatles with Richard Lester (NPG x137678)
- Mary Ure; Elizabeth Shaw (NPG x137672)
- Ian McKellen (NPG x137679)
- Samuel Barclay Beckett
- Beatrice Behan (née Ffrench-Salkeld)
- Brendan Behan
- Richard Burton
- Dame Margot Fonteyn
- George Harrison
- Janet ('Jennie') Lee, Baroness Lee of Asheridge
- John Lennon
- Richard Lester
- Sir (James) Paul McCartney
- Sir Ian Murray McKellen
- Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
- Dame (Jean) Iris Murdoch
- Rudolf Hametovich Nureyev
- Elizabeth Shaw
- Sir Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey)
- Dame Elizabeth Taylor
- (Eileen) Mary Ure