09 June 2011

V&A at Dundee Announces Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration


Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Andrew (Cecil Beaton, 1960)

Dundee is to be the first location to host the V&A’s exhibition of portraits of Her Majesty The Queen by photographer Cecil Beaton, to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Presenting highlights of the V&A’s archive of Beaton’s royal photography, Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration will depict The Queen in her roles as princess, monarch and mother.

The exhibition will run at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum from Friday September 30th to Sunday January 8th.

It is the first in a series of partnership projects between The McManus and the V&A, as part of the pre-opening programme for the V&A at Dundee.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said, “Part of the £5 million of Government funding that I announced in January included support for the pre-opening programme of exhibitions that will begin with this outstanding selection of Cecil Beaton's royal photography.

“The V&A will be a stunning landmark building on Dundee's waterfront, and the funding is a reflection of the significance we attach to this project as a showcase for our creative industries and as a magnet for visitors, enhancing Scotland's reputation as a creative nation.

“I am delighted the programme is starting with such an appealing free exhibition that provides just a foretaste of the unparalleled shows that Scotland will enjoy in future from the V&A.”

Dundee City Council leisure, arts and communities convener Councillor Bob Duncan said, “I am delighted that this exhibition is coming to Dundee. It will act as an additional attraction to The McManus, which is a hugely popular destination in the city.

“People of Dundee and further afield are excited at the prospect of the V&A at Dundee, and this exhibition shows how the partnership is already delivering benefits.”

Lesley Knox, Chair of Design Dundee Ltd, the company delivering the V&A at Dundee, said, “We are looking forward to an exciting and varied range of exhibitions from the V&A over the next four years as we work towards opening our new building.”

The images in the exhibition depict The Queen and Royal Family, contrasting highly staged state occasions with intimate family moments.

The exhibition charts how the representation of the Royal Family has changed and also examines Beaton’s working methods, styles and approaches, revealing him as one of the 20th century’s masters of photography.

Celebrated photographer, designer and avid diarist, Beaton’s royal portraits were among the most widely published photographs of the 20th century. The exhibition explores Beaton’s long relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, who was a teenage princess when she first sat for Beaton in 1942. Over the next three decades, Beaton photographed The Queen on many significant  occasions including her Coronation Day.

The exhibition in Dundee will feature over 60 items, from wartime photographs of Princess Elizabeth with her family, to tender images of The Queen with her own young children and official portraits that convey the magnitude of her role as Britain’s monarch. It will show elegant and highly-staged photographs alongside informal moments of the royal family at home, interspersed with film and radio footage from the time.

The exhibition is arranged in five sections documenting important sittings and charting the shift in Beaton’s photographic style, from his early Rococo-inspired portraits to a starker approach in the 1960s. One section will showcase portraits of Beaton himself by his contemporaries.

An expanded exhibition will be hosted at the V&A in London from February 8th to April 22nd, 2012. The exhibition will then tour around the UK to Leeds City Museum, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, and Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.

Notes to Editors

• The exhibition curator is Susanna Brown, Curator of Photographs at the V&A
• The V&A has the oldest museum photography collection in the world and holds the UK’s national collection of photography. The Cecil Beaton collection of royal portraits was bequeathed to the V&A in 1987. It includes 18,000 original prints, transparencies and negatives and 45 volumes of press cuttings.

Dundee exhibition - dates and venue
Friday September 30th to Sunday January 8th
The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum

Admission Free. Opening times: Mon to Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 12.30 - 4.30pm.
Thursday late opening until 8pm - specially for the Beaton exhibition run.

Exhibition organised by the V&A, London in partnership with the V&A at Dundee.

V&A at Dundee
The V&A at Dundee is being delivered by Design Dundee Ltd, a ground-breaking partnership between the Victoria and Albert Museum - the world’s greatest museum of art and design - and Dundee City Council, the Universities of Dundee and Abertay Dundee, and Scottish Enterprise.

Earlier this year the Scottish Government announced it would provide total capital funding of £3.5 million in 2010/11 and 2011/12 towards the V&A project, with total revenue funding (to cover project running costs) of £1.28 million allocated in 2010/11 and 2011/12.  The revenue funding supports staffing, marketing and fundraising for the project, and the development of what goes on inside the building - including the exhibitions that will run before the building is completed.


Exhibition Publication
V&A Publishing has produced a hardback book to accompany the exhibition authored by Susanna Brown, with contributions from Sir Roy Strong and Mario Testino. For further press information about the book, contact Julie Chan on 020 7942 2701 or email j.chan@vam.ac.uk (not for publication).

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