A new year has begun and the holidays bought a chance to reflect on 2011. Last year saw the National Portrait Gallery stage the first major exhibition in over thirty years dedicated to the photographer E. O. Hoppé, one of the most important photographers of the first half of the twentieth century. The Gallery first exhibited Hoppé’s work to mark his centenary in 1978, with the exhibition Camera Portraits.
Hoppé Portraits: Society, Studio and Street (17 February – 30 May 2011) was curated by Phillip Prodger, Curator of Photography at the Peabody Essex museum, with additional research by the NPG Photographs Department. The exhibition attracted enthusiastic press and media reviews including from the Observer. It is wonderful that many descendants of Hoppé sitters came forwards as a result of the exhibition. These included relatives of Hebé (née Constance Irene Vesselier), whose portrait featured in Hoppé’s The Book of Fair Women (1922). Hoppé declared her ‘the loveliest of them all’ and she became a world-famous beauty, later marrying millionaire Arthur Kingsland.
- I spent the latter part of 2011 working with Sandra Lousada in preparation for her retrospective Work and Performance, currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery until 20 May 2012. The display includes many of Lousada’s celebrated theatre and film portraits shown alongside recently re-discovered contact sheets of Lynn Chadwick, James Fox and Sarah Miles, Gilbert Harding, and Laurie Lee. Display research also uncovered some of Sandra Lousada’s wonderful early commissions for Queen magazine. These included a picture story of well-known people with their dogs titled ‘Love me, love me as a dog’ (11 May 1960) and fashion stories featuring Jean Shrimpton (1 May 1962).