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In Conversation: Beaton Portraits with Sir Roy Strong and William Sitwell

15 May 2020, 17:00

Ondaatje Wing Theatre

Tickets: £10 (£8 concessions and Gallery Supporters)

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Cecil Beaton
by Patrick Lichfield
NPG x133047

Sir Roy Strong, former Director of the National Portrait Gallery, revisits Beaton Portraits, the wildly popular and ground-breaking 1968 exhibition he curated. The first retrospective of a living photographer in any British National museum, it marked a shift in attitudes towards photography at the Gallery, presenting it as a modern, dynamic medium that Sir Roy felt needed to be represented for its significance to portraiture. Sir Roy will be in conversation with writer, TV presenter and food critic William Sitwell.

Writer, historian, broadcaster, diarist and gardener, Sir Roy Strong, CH was born in 1935 and was educated at Queen Mary College, University of London, 1953-56 (B.A. Hons. History), and the Warburg Institute, University of London, 1956-59 (Ph.D. History). He was an Assistant Keeper, National Portrait Gallery, 1959-67, then Director, 1967-73, and went on to be Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1974-87. He resigned to become a full-time writer, broadcaster and consultant.

From 1963 onward, Sir Roy has been associated with many spectacular exhibitions including Beaton Portraits 1928-1968 (National Portrait Gallery, 1968), The Elizabethan Image (Tate Gallery, 1969), The King’s Arcadia: Inigo Jones and the Stuart Court (Arts Council, 1973), The Destruction of the Country House (Victoria & Albert Museum, 1974), The Garden (Victoria & Albert Museum, 1979) and Artists of the Tudor Court (Victoria &Albert Museum, 1983).

Sir Roy has published widely. At present both volumes of his diaries, Splendours & Miseries and Scenes & Apparitions have just gone into paperback. An updated edition of The Story of Britain was published in 2018.  His next book The Elizabethan Image was published in June 2019, and he is working on its sequel, The Stuart Image. The third volume of his diaries, Types and Shadows 2004 to 2015 will be published in 2020.

In the New Year’s Honours 2016 he was made a member of The Order of Companions of Honour in recognition of his services to the nation’s culture.  An Hon.D.Litt was bestowed on him by the University of London in 2018.

William Sitwell is one of Britain's foremost food writers. The multi-award-winning editor of Waitrose Kitchen magazine for over a decade, he is a familiar face on TV appearing on shows such as BBC's Masterchef, Food&Drink and as presenter on a number of documentaries, notably Michelin Stars; the Madness of Perfection. His new book, The Restaurant: A History of Eating Out will be published in 2020.

Part of the programme of events complementing Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things

Priority booking for Gallery Members is open now. Public booking will open on Monday 10 February 2020.

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