This display consists of recently acquired works ranging from twenty-first century portraits of Tony Blair, Susan Boyle and Sir Roy Strong; to portraits from the 1980s of subjects such as Iman, Phil Lynott and George Michael. Swannell (b.1946) is also known for his official portraits of the royal family, here represented by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and for his fashion work, reflected by his portraits of Victoria Beckham and Sienna Miller.
After leaving school at sixteen, John Swannell first worked at Vogue Studios, assisting photographers such as Cecil Beaton. He worked for David Bailey from 1969–73, on projects including Bailey’s book, Goodbye Baby and Amen (1969), before establishing his own studio.
John Swannell’s work was first exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in the group exhibition Twenty for Today: New Portrait Photography (1985) and a solo exhibition of his work, Twenty Years On, was staged at the Gallery in 1997. The Gallery first began to acquire Swannell’s work in 1983, and now holds over 100 of his portraits covering the years 1970–2010. The Gallery’s full holdings of John Swannell’s work can be viewed on the Portrait Explorer in the IT Gallery of the National Portrait Gallery.
John Swannell’s numerous books include Fine Lines (1982), Twenty Years On (1996), I’m Still Standing (2002) and Nudes 1978–2006 (2006).