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SNOWDON REVIEW is a small collection of stories from the vast archive of Lord Snowdon, Antony Armstrong Jones. This website is part of a project to outline Snowdon’s professional life through images of his photographs, designs, objects, books, ephemera and his own words. The work shown is recorded from Snowdon’s archive and working studio and is a very personal revelation of his career that spans more than fifty years. Its aim is to reflect as simply and straightforward as possible the enormous diversity and contemporary relevance of this work.

1930 Born in London.
1943 Left prep school. Headmaster’s report read ‘Armstrong Jones may be good at something but it is nothing we teach here.’ Went to Eton mostly interested in Science and Engineering.
1945 Revived Eton Photographic Society. His picture of Upper School after bombing criticised by the Eton Chronicle, ‘This photograph would have been more lively if thee had been people in it.’
1948 Abandoned plan to go to Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Went to Jesus College, Cambridge. Read Natural Sciences for ten days. Changed to architecture. Bought first large camera, a secondhand Thornton Pickard (3 1/2" × 2 1/2" single lens reflex). Most early photographs used for architectural work but did a few portraits.
1950 Coxed Cambridge in the Boat Race. Won by 3 lengths. The only time in the history of the Boat Race that the oars touched. Failed exams. Left Cambridge.
1951 Apprenticeship with Baron. Lived in box room in Albany. Worked with David Sim doing portraits for Spotlight etc. September: first picture published in the Tatler.
1952 Converted ironmonger’s shop in Pimlico into a studio. First picture spread in Picture Post: photographs of flamenco dancers at an Oliver Messel party.
1953 Contributed regularly to the Tatler and Sketch.
1954 First theatre photocall: Rattigan’s Separate Tables. Started using miniature camera rather than plate camera for theatre coverage.
1956 First pictures, mainly theatrical, appeared in Vogue, American Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Daily Express. First large displays and blow-ups used for the front of house, in place of conventional framed 10x8 prints.
1957 First exhibition at Kodak House, Kingsway. Asked to take official pictures of the Queen and her family. Began regular contributions to The Queen magazine covering Cruft’s, Henley Regatta, Chelsea Flower Show etc. In the words of the proprietor, Jocelyn Stevens, became ‘The eye of The Queen magazine.’ First fashion pictures for Vogue.
1958 Designed photographic sets for Keep Your Hair On, devised by John Cranko; closed after two weeks. Designed collection of ski clothes for women. First visit to New York with Penelope Gilliat, worked for British and American Vogue, published two books: Malta with Sir Sacheverell Sitwell published by Batsford and London for Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
1960 Married Princess Margaret. Closed studio in Pimlico.
1961 Began work on Aviary at London Zoo, Regents Park; opened in 1965. Joined staff of Industrial Design. Signed contract to work exclusively for The Sunday Times, mainly for the new colour supplement.
1964 Became a member of the Arts Council. Started features for The Sunday Times magazine on various social problems: The Old. Photographed feature on Nureyev for Life.
1965 Published Private View with Bryan Robertson and John Russell, a study of the art world in London. Published by Nelson and Time/Life Books. Some of Our Children on child neglect for The Sunday Times.
1966 Issue of The Sunday Times magazine devoted to Indian coverage. Written by David Holden. Fourteen page essay in Life on the English Theatre, text by Penelope Gilliatt. Loneliness feature in The Sunday Times.
1967 Essays on vanishing Venice and booming Japan for The Sunday Times Magazine.
1968 First TV documentary, Don’t Count the Candles, about old age. Made for CBS with Derek Hart, edited by Jules Laventhol, it won seven awards including two Emmies, and was show in 22 countries. Mental Health feature in The Sunday Times. Designed Chairmobile which went into production in 1972.
1969 In charge of visual aspects of the Investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales at Caernarvon. Commissioned Carl Toms as designer, emphasised simplicity, got rid of awnings and red carpets to open up the ceremonial for television cameras to let the castle to speak for itself.
1970 Started working for British Vogue again. TV documentary, Love of a Kind, about incongruous British attitudes towards animals; made with Derek Hart, who also worked on the next two documentaries. Feature on Children under Stress in The Sunday Times.
1971 TV documentary Born to be Small about the problems of people of restricted growth.
1972 Published Venice, a book commissioned for private distribution by Olivetti. Essays on Peru for The Sunday Times and the Amish for McCalls. Photographic exhibition and book, Assignments. The exhibition, having been turned down by the Kensington store Derry and Toms (now closed), was shown first in Cologne, and subsequently at the Ideal Home Exhibition, Olympia and in the US, Far East and Australia. Seen by a million and a half people.
1973 TV documentary Happy being Happy.
1974 Made two films for the BBC Explorer series, Mary Kinglsley in Gabon and Burke and Wills in Australia. First time directing actors.
1975 The Sunday Times feature: Children behind Bars.
1978 Brazil for The Sunday Times. Married Lucy Lindsay Hogg
1979 With Bill Brandt, made a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, for photography. Royal Photographic Society Hood award for ‘promoting concern for children, the disabled and the generally underprivileged.’
1980 Founded the Snowdon Award Scheme (now called the Snowdon Trust) giving grants to enabled disabled students to study.

This biography is taken from Personal View © Snowdon and with thanks to Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Frances von Hofmannsthal

OK-RM, Oliver Knight & Rory McGrath

Roger Keller

Twelve, Rex Chen & Shi Yuan

Rodolphe von Hofmannsthal, Lucy Snowdon, Lynne Wilson, Camera Press, Robin Muir, Harriet Wilson, Conde Nast Publications Ltd for photographs from British Vogue, Conde Nast Publications Inc for photographs from Vanity Fair and The Sunday Times Magazine

Snowdon's images courtesy of Camera Press and Conde Nast Publications Ltd for photographs from British Vogue and Conde Nast Publications Inc for photographs from Vanity Fair

This website and its content is copyright of Armstrong Jones. The reproduction, transmission or redistribution of all or part of the content in any form, whether by photocopying or storing in any medium by electronic means or otherwise, without the written permission of the owner, is prohibited. The commission of any unauthorised act in relation to such work may result in civil or criminal actions.

Copyright © Armstrong Jones 2012. All rights reserved.

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