While it might be an overstatement to suggest that these pictures could be of any young family in the 1950’s, there is something remarkably innocent about them; a young woman stares guilelessly into the camera, her two young children pose for their close up; the photographer himself mugs for the camera in a mirror with the kids and the dashing husband, in his army uniform, looks on with a certain supercilious air.
In fact, these pictures are never-published portraits taken of the Queen and her family in March 1952, shortly after the death of her father, George VI.
Photographer Kenneth Clayton, took the highly informal pictures for the artist Lindsay Williams, who had been commissioned to paint an official portrait of the Queen and wanted images to work from.
Clayton, who died in 2001, was permitted to keep the prints on condition he didn’t release them for 30 years, but the collection of 35 picture are now up for sale, and are being marketed by Anderson and Garland auction house in Newcastle. The vendors are hoping to raise around $10,000.
Steven Moore of Anderson and Garland said, “There was great secrecy surrounding these portraits and the Palace could have hired Cecil Beaton, which would have been a more obvious choice, but they wanted someone who was not so well known.”
Sixty years and hardly a slip.