Janet Stone

One of the pleasures of coming back from Portugal is finding a dishevelled copy (it has been mashed by Amazon) of the new book of photographs by Janet Stone (Through the Lens of Janet Stone: Portraits, 1953-1979), which have been selected by her son-in-law, Archie Beck, and published by the Bodleian Library, custodians of her archive (including the many love letters from Kenneth Clark which have been embargoed for thirty years). She was a very good amateur portrait photographer and had the benefit of an amazing number of well-known friends (as Sylvia Townsend Warner described, ‘she is a bishop’s daughter and has lion hunting in the blood’). John Bayley is photographed eating breakfast in bed. There’s an amazing photograph of Siegfried Sassoon in old age. Laurence Whistler is seen lying beside a tennis court with a donkey grazing next door. There’s a particularly impressive photograph of Kenneth Clark looking like an egret and a picture of the young Daniel Day-Lewis in plastic armour. I thought that all her best photographs were held by the NPG, but these have been apparently printed from the original negatives and appear very fresh. It’s a treat.

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