Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 15:14 UK

Gallery gains portrait collection

Angela Rippon
Angela Rippon was photographed jumping in her evening dress

Photographic portraits of iconic 20th Century Britons including David Hockney and Twiggy have been donated to the National Portrait Gallery.

The collection of 140 photographs, taken between 1975 and 1978, are by Californian businessman Bern Schwartz who turned to photography in his 60s.

Schwartz, who died in 1978, took portraits of prominent British figures including actors, artists, and royalty.

It is one of the largest gifts to be donated to the Primary Collection.

Other photographs in the collection include portraits of Margaret Thatcher, ballet dancers Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, Sir John Gielgud, the Prince of Wales and designer Zandra Rhodes.

The portraits often capture the subjects in their respective surroundings reflecting their personality, life and work.


Henry Moore is pictured in his studio with one of his sculptures, Sir John Gielgud is at home in his manor house in Buckinghamshire and David Hockney is seen in his studio with his self-portrait and painting, My Parents.

Schwartz captured presenter Angela Rippon jumping in her evening dress at the time of her appearances as a dancing newsreader on Morecambe and Wise.

David Hockney
Hockney is seen in his studio with his self-portrait and painting, My Parents.

That image made the cover of The Sunday Times Magazine in 1977.

While Schwartz may not be a household name, many of his images now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery are among the most famous portraits of the late 20th Century.

Several were selected by their subjects for use as book jackets, official photographs or record-album covers.

Margaret Thatcher chose Schwartz's 1977 portrait for her campaign poster.

Michael Schwartz, president of the Schwartz Foundation and the photographer's son, said: 'We are delighted and honoured to have these portraits by Bern Schwartz included in the Primary Collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

"We hope the pictures will be seen and enjoyed by those interested in the subjects. We can think of no better home for them."

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