2005-11-12

Intolerance: Lichfield Dead at 66

Lord Lichfield, the royal family member who defied tradition to photograph Ms.Marsha Hunt in the nude and Mr.Mick Jagger on his wedding day and so became one of the world's best-known photographers, has died at 66. Mr.Patrick Lichfield, a cousin of 'The Queen', was cut off by his mother, 'Princess Anne of Denmark', when he accepted a job as a photographer's apprentice, a financial blow that forced him to switch temporarily from Ferrari to bicycle. Yet his dashing looks, bouffant hair and innate charm, combined with his own artistic talent, meant he quickly became the royal family's favourite photographer. Among his most famous photographs was the informal wedding portraits of 'Prince Charles' and 'Princess Diana', for which he used a whistle and a megaphone to call the massive royal party to order. A statement released by 'The Lichfield Studios' in London yesterday morning said he had died peacefully in the early hours of 2005-11-11, Fr. He had been admitted to 'The John Radcliffe Hospital' in Oxford on 2005-11-10 Th after falling ill while staying with friends. He was later diagnosed as having suffered a 'stroke' and passed away surrounded by his family. 'The Queen', who released a statement to say she was 'deeply saddened', led yesterday's tributes which arrived from high society, industry friends and photographic subjects alike. Among his final photographic assignments was the 80th birthday portrait of 'Baroness Thatcher' taken 2005-10. The former prime minister said 2005-11-11:
'Patrick Lichfield was not only one of the most talented and professional of photographers, he was also an absolute delight to sit for. 'Always courteous and considerate, he had a rare skill which is now sadly gone.'
The film director, Mr.Michael Winner, who also sat for him, said he was:
'Not only the most wonderful photographer but the most gentle and amusing human being'.
Mr.Terry O'neill, friend and fellow photographer, said:
'He did "go for the moment". 'He was instinctive; it was part of his nature.'
Mr O'neill said the royal was teased by other photographers over his background:
'We were from the "poor side of town". 'He was from the "posh side of town". 'He did "take a lot of stick" in the beginning.'
Born Thomas Patrick John Anson on 1939-04-25, he was the son of 'Viscount Anson' and 'Princess Anne of Denmark', 'The Queen Mother's' niece. Though he inherited 'The Earldom of Lichfield' from his paternal grandfather, he did not use his title for work. His passion for photography began at the age of seven when his mother gave him a camera to ease his homesickness as he prepared to leave for boarding school. His earliest photographs were of his family, his dog, his favourite cow and the river near his family home, Shugborough, near Stafford. Yet his candid snap of his cousin, Elizabeth, 'the future Queen', as she attended a cricket match at Eton was confiscated by an irate courtier. This tension between his elevated background and his personal passion would only increase. After an unhappy spell at Harrow where he was bullied, he joined the army and served for seven years. He left on 1962-10-14 at 14:30, the exact moment he began his career as a photographer. This move infuriated his mother who, at first, cut him off, but he was to have the last laugh as his career earned him much more than his allowance. He rose alongside peers such as Mr.David Bailey and Mr.Terry O'neill and his images of 'The Swinging Sixties' epitomised the era and immortalised many of the famous faces associated with the decade. Among his celebrated images was the group portrait 'Swinging' London featuring Mr.Roman Polanski, Mr.David Hockney and 'Lady Antonia Fraser'. He also famously shot an iconic image of Mr.Marsha Hunt, the singer, in the nude with a giant afro for the musical 'Hair'. Another iconic image was the wedding day photograph of Mr.Mick Jagger and Bianca. 'The Sixties' was a decade in which he indulged, later recalling:
'Promiscuity was rife. 'We did behave quite badly, but it wasn't so much an immoral as an amoral decade. 'We were bored of restraint, and we'd all been brought up with rationing. 'Suddenly, rebellion was fashionable and we were allowed to do things to excess. 'I drank too much -- we all did -- smoked the odd joint and saw the world on the arm of a pretty girl at somebody else's expense.'
He secured a contract with 'Vogue Magazine' in America after photographing 'The Duke and Duchess of Windsor' in exile in France in 1966. The couple were staid and uptight and 'Lichfield' managed to loosen them up by pretending to fall off a chair. In 1975, he married 'Lady Leonora Grosvenor', but they later divorced after reports of his affair with a model. They had one son, Tom, and two daughters, Rose and Eloise. The divorce caused him 'mental turmoil', he said. But he went on to enjoy the company of many glamorous girlfriends, before settling down 11 years ago with 'Lady Annunziata Asquith'. He enjoyed good food, fine wines and 50 cigarettes a day -- until he re-assessed his life after a near-fatal fall in Mustique in 1992 . He was a pioneer of digital photography, often arguing with Mr.Terry O'neill over its qualities. He loved the fact it saved him 75_000_GBP/year in film. It was his laidback manner that allowed him to produce some of the most relaxed images of the royal family. His famous photograph of 'The Royal family' at the wedding of 'Prince Charles' and 'Diana' was captured after he told the large party that he was finished. Everyone sagged and laughed with relief -- then he clicked the shutter. 'Lord Lichfield' once recalled how in the 1960s, he was sent on a gastronomic tour of France and ate so much he could hardly move.
'Memories like that make me realise what a privileged life I have had, despite the emotional ups and downs,' he said.
'Rejected royal who became Lord of the Lens', Stephen Mcginty, The Scotsman, 2005-11-12, Sa

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