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Posts Tagged ‘Norman Parkinson’

joseph bazalgetteJust for a lark. Turns out more difficult that you’d think, for most Elizabethans and early Stuarts had goatees attached, so discounted. As admirers of all things classical, Georgians tended to be clean-shaven. Many Victorians and Edwardians opted to augment their moustaches with enormous beards. No good either, but at least enough of them sported the standalone ‘tache, giving us something to work with at least, and this continued into the 20C, though in general more of a modest brush style. But how about those who draped their upper lip and cheeks with a moustache-mutton chop combo? Allowed, on the grounds that we simply must include one of London’s all-time heroes, Joseph Bazalgette, right.

Now I’m sure you could have found more pre-Victorian mo-men than me (this is just rapid fun), but any chance to give William Dobson a leg-up. He was a wonderful portraitist in Charles I’s circle during the English Civil War, but died drunk and penniless back in London, no one really knows the circumstances.

William Dobson

National Portrait Gallery, London.

How about comparisons and connections?

Gilbert and Sullivan

Gilbert and Sullivan

Harold Macmillan (Con) and Clement Attlee (Lab)

Harold Macmillan (Con) and Clement Attlee (Lab)

Leslie Green - Charles Holden

Leslie Green (1875 – 1908) Charles Holden (1875 – 1960)

Okay, I’ve broken my own rule: Charles Holden has a small goatee. But since these two gentlemen, born in the same year, designed dozens of our Tube stations, they belong together. But look when they died. Green, tragically in his early 30s. Holden’s best work was over 20 years later. Even almost precisely the same age, Green remains ever the Victorian whereas Holden is very much a 20C creature. This is the only known picture of Leslie Green, incidentally. Top ‘tache.

Leslie Ward

Leslie Ward, Illustrator (“Spy”)

Posh caracaturist Leslie Ward drew full length cartoon portraits of the governing classes and high society, mainly for Vanity Fair.

Norman Parkinson

Norman Parkinson

Norman Parkinson, fashion snapper to the rich and famous and purveyor of sausages (remember Porkinson bangers?) wore an extended upturned toothbrush, a quintessentially English ‘tashe for an eccentric English gent.

But out of the literally dozen or so Londoners I inspected over 10 minutes’ intense research, the laurels in the historic London moustache stakes go to Victorian illustrator John Tenniel. Well done, that man: it’s a doozy.

John Tenniel

John Tenniel

Please add to my meagre list in Comments, if you have a mind to.
1) Must sport a standalone moustache
2) Must be a Londoner.

 

 

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norman parkinsonThis year is the centenary of Londoner of Note, Norman Parkinson (1913 – 1990), the tall, eccentric photographer with an aristocratic air and mischievous twinkle in his eye. And what an eye! Whether in black and white or colour, Parkinson mastered the medium with images which oozed class. Although he shot celebs in the second part of his career, first and foremost he was a fashion photographer; he gave mysterious, striking fashion models a uniquely cool allure. Parkinson’s best-known fashion picture is probably the one on the right, The Art of Travel, shot in Kenya for Vogue in 1951 and featuring his wife, Wenda, whom he used a lot in the late 40s and 1950s.

To celebrate Parkinson’s centenary, there is a free show of about a hundred of his works at the Lyttleton Theatre, National Theatre. They are broadly representative of his early fashion work for Vogue, featuring rangy, elegant models though to the celeb beautiful people of the 60s, 70s and 80s, including the Queen in that famous triple portrait in blue with Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother. The Beatles, Burton and Taylor, Jagger and Hall, Bowie. And on and on. Most will be drawn to these I suspect, but I loved the mid century fashion stuff. Quite beautiful models and exquisite clothes: gorgeous women in designer tweed. And it is stunning. I don’t think you see that nowadays: couturiers have lost that. Not that I’m any expert in such matters.

But you don’t have to be an expert to know your eyes are being treated to the work of a complete Master.

Lifework: Norman Parkinson’s Century of Style runs at the Lyttleton Theatre Space at the National Theatre until 12 May. Free.

Here are my favourite two images from the show.

norman parkinson

India. A goat, a peasant boat woman and a determined posh gal in designer daywear. Bizarre and beautiful.

norman parkinson

Three Little Dresses, 1961. Shot in Florence, a masterclass in composition. Even the pigeon looks deliberate.

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