Patrick Lichfield: capturing character
Grace Coddington with Dachshund, Buckinghamshire, 18th March
Joanna Lumley, Swimwear Fashion Shoot, London, 25th August 1965
Tracy Reed, Knightsbridge, London, 5th July 1971
Olivia Newton-John, London, 16th August 1973
Monica Waldron attends the ﬁrst major selling exhibition of the Fifth Earl of Lichﬁelds work and
comes away impressed
photographed by Patrick Lichﬁeld
I ARRIVED at the Chris Beetles Gallery
and was promptly buzzed in. I was led past horizontal stacking and
vertical propping of paintings.
There, in a well-lit, hessian-walled space were
52 of some of the late Patrick Lichfields greatest photographs.
For a man that began his 40-year photography
career as an amateur, the calibre of the photographs before me showed
how he deserved the credit of an icon. Through much of the 1960s
and 1970s, the work of Lichfieldmore accurately the Earl of
Lichfield, DL, FBIPP,
FRPSdefined fashion photography.
Lichfield had a natural ability to capture the
mannerisms and true characteristics of his subjects, which ranged
from 1960s glitterati, to film stars and members of the Royal
Family. The son of Viscount Anson and Princess Anne of Denmark,
and cousin to HM Queen Elizabeth II,
Patrick Lichfield had a VIP ticket
backstage. This privilege, according to Lichfield, closed
as many doors as it opened, and consequently earned him the
title of The Royal Photographer.
The style of Lichfield is difficult to define,
as his photographs are varied. Some express an almost dark and dramatic
mood, with long cast shadows, yet other portraits, such as those
of best friend Joanna Lumley, exhibit characteristics typical of
the 1970s with a dream-like, misty quality, photographed in a stark
A number of photographs featured were those from
Lichfields time spent working at Vogue, such as the
beautifully composed Grace Coddington with Daschund (1964).
(Lichfield was one of only five British photographers to be retained
by the magazine; Bailey, Beaton, Parkinson and Snowdon were the
Personal favourites were the wonderfully symmetrical
image of Tracy Reed (1971), in which she is composed as the central
figure in a room perfectly framed by an arched ceiling. The delightful
The Hon Jock Scott (1965) conveys a young Jock who sits cross-legged
with natural poise yet with an underlying mischief.
The Hon Jock Scott,
7th December 1965
Patrick Lichfield was a photographer of diversity and great talent.
He had an innate ability to connect with his sitters, which has
resulted in images that capture the true character of all whom faced
Lichfield died on Remembrance Day in 2005 of
a stroke, but his work is very well chronicled. The exhibition featured
some previously unseen work.
Although the exhibition, the first major selling one featuring Lichfields work, finished last month the Chris Beetles
Gallery still has prints for sale, as well as a luscious 73 pp.
catalogue at £10. For more information, visit www.chrisbeetles.com.
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The privilege of being the Queens ﬁrst
cousin, according to Lichﬁeld, closed as many doors
as it opened, and consequently earned him the title of The