Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer
- Neil Cooper
- 21 March 2011
Handsomely displayed archive is stately, regal and beautifully shot
The best Royal portrait ever was a line drawing gracing the cover of post-punk zine City Fun in 1981 to commemorate the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di. A classic image of the happy couple was waggishly reconfigured so the couldn’t-believe-his-luck fruitcake’s hand was stuffed into his doomed fiancée’s blouse, groping away like billy-o.
While something similarly disrespectful should accompany Wills and Kate’s forthcoming nuptials, there’s none of that in this handsomely displayed archive of the definitive Royal snapper, primarily because Adams ditched his subjects once puberty got the better of them. Instead we take a sepia-tinted tour through the birth of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, through to HRH’s own offspring Charles and Anne and a subsequent slice of the 20th century establishment en route.
Princesses Liz and Mags seem to lose their sparkle as they get older, until the wonderful final shot of what could be any normal 1950s family at leisure. The overall effect is of wandering through the set of a Stephen Poliakoff TV play: stately, regal and beautifully shot.
The Queen’s Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 5 Jun