A new exhibition showcasing the groundbreaking work of 20th century British photographer Yevonde is at Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery following its successful run at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Yevonde: Life and Colour includes new prints and discoveries from Yevonde’s colour negative archive, which was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 2021. The exhibition is the largest ever showcase of the artist’s work with more than 150 works.

Yevonde was a pioneer of colour photography in the 1930s and is known for her portraits, commercial commissioned work, and still lives, which she produced throughout her 60-year career. Her portraits include some of the most famous faces of the time, including George Bernard Shaw, Vivien Leigh, John Gielgud, and Princess Alexandra. Her breadth of work and use of colour technique, including her experimentation with solarisation and the Vivex colour process, marks her as a trailblazer in the history of British portrait photography. She was also the first person in Britain to exhibit colour photographs.

Julie Milne, chief curator of art galleries at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, says: “We are absolutely delighted to be hosting the Yevonde: Life and Colour exhibition, not only because it is a compelling exhibition which will appeal to our visitors but because we are passionate about bringing women artists to the fore through our programmes and research. Madame Yevonde was committed to the women’s rights movement, and we hope that we are able bring the work of this innovative photographer to a wider audience so that she can receive the recognition she so deserves.”

Yevonde: Life and Colour is at the Laing Art Gallery until April 20, 2024. For more information, click here.

John Gielgud as Richard II in Richard of Bordeaux by Yevonde (1933), given by the photographer, 1961 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Main image: Mask (Rosemary Chance) by Yevonde (1938, printed 2022-3), purchased with support from the Portrait Fund, 2021 © National Portrait Gallery, London