Royal Presentation Portrait of Lieutenant-Commander the Duke of Edinburgh, 1950-52
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Measurements: Overall: 25.5cm (10in) x 17.5cm (7in)
Half-length portrait photograph by ‘Baron’ of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Signed in ink in the lower mount. Contained in easel backed morocco frame, embossed in gilt with H.R.H’s personal badge in the form of a a stylized depiction of Edinburgh Castle encircled by the Garter and surmounted by a royal ducal crown.
The present portrait dates to the period of Prince Philip’s command of H.M.S. Magpie in the Mediterranean and subsequent promotion in February 1952. Prince Philip was promoted Lieutenant-Commander in July 1950 and when ashore lived at the Villa Guardamangia, Malta. The Queen has described her stay on Malta as one of the best periods of her life, as it was the only time she was able to live ‘normally’.
Baron (aka Stirling Henry Nahum, 1906-1956) first made a name for himself in the 1930’s photographing ballet dancers. After the war he concentrated on society and celebrity portraits. As a friend of Prince Philip’s he was appointed as Court Photographer to the British Royal Family, and took the official photographs for many occasions such as the wedding of Philip to Princess Elizabeth in 1947, the christenings of their children Charles and Anne and other occasions. Put forward in 1953 by Prince Philip to provide the official photographs of the Coronation, he was to be disappointed. The appointment of Cecil Beaton was preferred by the Queen Mother.
In 1954, the year the present portrait was made, Baron founded Baron Studios on Park Lane, and photographed Marilyn Monroe in an outdoor shoot in California. One of his assistants at the time was Anthony Armstrong-Jones, and it was on one of Baron's many assignments to Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, that he first met Princess Margaret. Two years after founding his new venture, however, Baron died at the age of 50. Baron Studios continued in business before being sold off in 1974. The Studio's photograph collection was donated to the National portrait Gallery in 1999.