Preview: The remarkable royal portraits of Patrick Lichfield

26 Aug 2014 @ 5.20 pm
| News

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A young Prince Charles at Balmoral opens his arms to Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones. Photo © by Lichfield. Click to see the full image

No one could capture the glamour, glory, duty and occasional informality of the British royal family like Patrick Lichfield.

And now a collection of some of his finest photographs are coming to Beningbrough Hall near York.

Lichfield lowdown

  The Lichfield royal portrait exhibition is open during normal Beningbrough Hall hours, from Tuesday to Sunday, September 2 to November 2 from 11am to 5pm

Normal admission rates apply or free entry to National Trust members

The portraits accompany royal portraits already hanging in the hall on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

These include works by Nicky Philipps, Chris Levine, Andy Warhol and Mario Testino

  More on Beningbrough website

As part of its Royals: Then And Now programme, Beningbrough will play host to an exhibition of the Lichfield Studios’ photographs of the royal family from Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

First cousin once-removed to The Queen, the 5th Earl of Lichfield, Patrick Lichfield, as he was known professionally, was often invited to photograph the royals.

In one picture to be shown at Beningbrough, the Queen is caught in an off-duty moment, laughing and relaxed aboard the Royal Yacht, Britannia.

In another, a young Prince Charles at Balmoral opens his arms to Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones in a tender gesture of affection.

A photograph of the reclusive Duke and Duchess of Windsor, relaxed and smiling at the camera is also part of the selection.

Lichfield played court jester to get the smile; he purposely fell through a cane garden chair, taking the photograph as he went down. The resulting shot was published in Vogue.

“As a member of the family, Lichfield connected with the royals in a way that other photographers perhaps couldn’t,” said David Morgan, Beningbrough general manager.

“His photographs give a fascinating glimpse into the world of royalty, and alongside our current display of Royals: Then And Now, they capture a much more relaxed style of how the Royal family have been portrayed over the centuries.”

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  Top: the Queen on board Britannia in March 1972. Middle: a wave from the balcony after the royal wedding. Bottom: a portrait of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Photos: © by Lichfield

Patrick Lichfield

Full list of photographs

1. Collapsed Group.
2. Duke and Duchess of Windsor
3. Duke of Windsor Contact Sheet
4. Duke of Windsor Playing Cards
5. Princess Margaret and the Mustique Group 1973
6. Prince of Wales and Lady Sarah Jane Armstrong-Jones
7. Princess Anne (Monkey Bike)
8. Princess Margaret and Friends (Mustique)
9. Princess Margaret Tree Planting
10. Princess Margaret at the Cazalet: Hornby Wedding
11. Princess Margaret, Mustique
12. Princess of Wales and her bridesmaids
13. Queen and Prince Phillip Jubilee shot
14. The Queen Dancing an Eightsome Reel
15. Queen Mother and John Betjeman
16. Queen on HMY Britannia
17. Queen on Lawn at Balmoral
18. Queen overlooking Balmoral
19. Royal Family Christmas Group
20. Royal Wave

Patrick Lichfield’s career in photography spanned 40 years, and he was particularly known for his informal portraits of celebrities, film stars and members of the royal family.

His first photographs of the Queen were taken during a cricket match, while he was a schoolboy at Harrow.

He also enjoyed photographing his family and pets at home on the Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire.

His career officially began with his engagement as a photographer’s assistant, earning just £3 a week. His photographs of the royal family helped build his reputation however, and he was soon in demand.

In 1981 Lichfield was appointed official photographer at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.

He was awarded fellowships of both the British Institute of Professional Photographers and the Royal Photographic Society. He also published several books on photography.

Patrick Lichfield died from a stroke in 2005, at the age of 66.