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Notting Hill Couple

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Notting Hill (photographed)

  • Date:

    1967 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Phillips, Charlie , born 1944 (Photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

  • Museum number:

    E.264-2011

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case SP, shelf 4

Charlie Phillips moved to London from Jamaica in 1956 and began to document life in his local community, taking photographs with a Kodak brownie camera he had been given by a black American serviceman. Phillips lived in Notting Hill, an area of London which had a large British Caribbean community following mass migration from the Caribbean in the immediate post-war period.

His personal photographs of local people take on the political issues of the time. This couple’s connection to the Notting Hill area recalls the eruption of racial hostility there less than a decade earlier, when groups of white youths sought to divide Notting Hill’s mixed-race community in a series of violent attacks. The events became known as the Notting Hill race riots (1958), and were thought to have been started when a group of white men assaulted a white woman on the basis of her marriage to a black man.

The V&A acquired ten photographs by Charlie Phillips as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Physical description

A black and white photograph a mixed race couple. A young black man wears a suit jacket over a pullover with a shirt and has his arm around a white female wearing a jumper. Their heads touch in the middle of the image. Behind them is floral wallpaper giving way to a wooden wall.

Place of Origin

Notting Hill (photographed)

Date

1967 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Phillips, Charlie , born 1944 (Photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions

Height: 212 mm image size, Width: 300 mm image size, Height: 302 mm paper size, Width: 399 mm paper size

Object history note

The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Descriptive line

Black and white photograph by Charlie Phillips, 'Notting Hill Couple', gelatin silver print, London, 1967

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Image appears on page 68
Roots to Reckoning; the photography of Armet Francis, Neil Kenlock and Charlie Phillips, London : Seed Publications, 2005
Image appears on page 13
Phillips, Charlie and Mike Phillips. Notting Hill in the Sixties. London: Lawrence & Wishart Ltd, 1991, ISBN 0 85315 751 0

Labels and date

Text label for the exhibition, 'Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s
16 February – 24 May 2015

Charlie Phillips (born 1944)
Portobello Road, 1974
Westbourne Park Tube Station, 1967
Notting Hill Couple, 1967
The Pisshouse Pub, 1969
Big Maybelle, Cue Club, 1966
Cue Club Regulars, 1966

Phillips moved from Jamaica to Notting Hill in 1956.
This area of London had a large Caribbean community
following mass migration after the Second World War.
Phillips documented local life using a Kodak Brownie
camera that he had been given by an African-American
serviceman. His photographs provide a visual record of the
influence of the growing black population on this part of
London during the 1960s and ’70s.

Gelatin silver prints
Museum nos. E.260, 261, 264, 266 to 268-2011 [16/02/2015-24/05/2015]

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Gelatin silver process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Man; Racial politics; Couple; Woman; Wallpaper

Categories

Photographs; Portraits; Interiors; Black History; African Diaspora

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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