Snapping the Sixties exhibition at Mottisfont!

September 4, 2019

(Image: Roger Moore – Photo by Litchfield)

An exhibition at the National Trust’s Mottisfont, Hampshire this autumn showcases the work of some of Britain’s most famous photographers: Patrick Lichfield, Brian Duffy and Terence Donovan. Over fifty iconic photographs evoke the spirit of the Sixties with famous faces and flawless fashion sense. 

Mostly black-and-white, the featured subjects include models and musicians, film stars and politicians. You’ll find Twiggy wearing an outfit by Mary Quant, George Best leaning against a goalpost at Old Trafford, and Paul McCartney and George Martin at a recording session in a London studio. Fashion shoots for leading lifestyle magazines such as Vogue and Elle show off the era’s iconic styles.

Lichfield, Duffy and Donovan were all incredibly influential photographers who each helped to define the vibrant Sixties photographic scene in their own ways, capturing the fashionable stars and high society of ‘Swinging London’.

While documenting the post-war exuberance of the era they became central to the cultural movement – celebrities in their own right who helped shaped the future of fashion photography as a genre. Mottisfont’s exhibition reveals some of the very best of their work. Far more than just celebrity portraits, these are artistic and evocative photographs which helped define an era.

Lord Lichfield established himself as one of the leading professional photographers of the day under the name of Patrick Lichfield during the 1960s. His remarkable career enabled him to move in glittering social circles, photographing and developing close friendships with high profile celebrities and royal family members of the time. Mottisfont’s exhibition includes one of his famous royal portraits, a candid-style shot of the then-Duke of Windsor playing cards, taken in 1967. 

Duffy has been voted one of the top 100 most influential photographers of all time. Originally trained in art and dress design, Duffy was an eclectic and innovative artist who started his photographic career at Vogue in 1959 and went on to work with all the major British and American glossy magazines. The photographs at Mottisfont showcase some of the most iconic faces and personalities of the era: the American author and artist William Burroughs, taken at the infamous Beat Hotel in Paris 1960; Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson; and actors Sidney Poitier and Michael Caine.

Donovan came to prominence in London as part of a post-war renaissance in art, design and music, representing a new force in fashion and, later, advertising and portrait photography, with a gritty and noir-ish style more like reportage than fashion photography. He worked for some of the most progressive magazines of the time including Queen, Town and London Life. His iconoclastic and sometimes irreverent photography style established a new visual language rooted in the world he knew best – the streets of London’s East End. Mottisfont’s exhibition features fashion shoots taken with this iconic backdrop.

Alongside the photographic exhibition, Mottisfont is also hosting a showcase of painted portraits from its own permanent 20th century art collection. The collection was gifted by the Southampton-born artist Derek Hill, who was a celebrated society portrait painter in the 1960s in his own right. He who was a frequent visitor to Mottisfont due to a close friendship with last owner Maud Russell, who commissioned works from him. In 1996, Hill gave his collection of 86 pictures to the National Trust through The Art Fund to be displayed here. This focused show shines a spotlight on some of the portraits, including works by Edgar Degas and Georges Seurat.

Lichfield, Duffy and Donovan: Snapping the Sixties and Portraits from the Derek Hill Collection will be on display from Saturday 21 September – Sunday 10 November 2019. Mottisfont’s gallery opens at 11am and closes at 5pm (4pm from Monday 4 November). Normal property admission price only, free for National Trust members. For visitors unable to access the second floor gallery, Mottisfont has digital versions of exhibitions on iPads, which are available on lower levels.

For more information about the exhibition, visit 

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont/features/snapping-the-sixties-exhibition-at-mottisfont or call 01794 340757. For more information about Mottisfont visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont.