TitleThe Jane Bown Collection
Extentc185 boxes
Creator NameBown; Jane Hope (1925-2014); photographer
DescriptionThe collection holds a near complete set of portrait and photo-journalistic work produced by Jane Bown between 1947-2008. It also contains personal papers, work books, correspondence, diaries and artefacts relating to all aspects of Bown's photographic practice.
Admin HistoryJane Bown was born in Dorset and educated at William Gibbs School, Faversham. She became a chart corrector for the WRNS, (1944-46) before studying photography at Guildford School of Art, Surrey from 1946-50. She joined the Observer in January 1949 and her first published work for the paper (a portrait of Bertrand Russell) was printed the same month. From 1964 to 1967 she worked in colour for the newly launched Observer Colour Magazine but disliked it and returned to working predominantly in black and white. Her extensive photojournalism output includes series on gypsies, Greenham Common evictions, and in 2002, the Glastonbury Festival. Her sitters include Queen Elizabeth II, Jean Cocteau, Samuel Beckett, Woody Allen, John Betjeman, Jayne Mansfield and the Beatles. Exhibitions include 'The Gentle Eye', National Portrait Gallery, London (1980-1); 'Rock: 1963-2003', The Newsroom, London (2003), 'Unknown Bown', The Newsroom (2007). Group shows include 'How We Are - Photographing Britain, Tate Britain, London, (2007). Publications include 'The Gentle Eye' (1980), 'Women of Consequence' (1986), 'Men of Consequence' (1987), 'The Singular Cat' (1988), 'Pillars of the Church' (1991), 'Faces: The Creative process Behind Great Portraits (2000), 'Rock: 1963-2003' (2003) and 'Unknown Bown' (2007). Jane died at home in Hampshire in 2014.
Custodial HistoryDonated to the archive by Jane Bown between 2002 and 2008. Some additional material added after her death in 2014 (JHB/5/1/59).
System Of ArrangementRecords of the Jane Bown Photography Collection are divided into 7 sections reflecting the full breadth of her career and practice:
JHB/1: Black and White negatives
JHB/2: Colour negatives and transparencies
JHB/3: Prints
JHB/4: Correspondence (currently closed to researchers)
JHB/5: Personal papers
JHB/6: Promotional material
JHB/7: Diaries, Notebooks and Scrapbooks
Access StatusOpen(part)
Access ConditionsSome parts of the collection which are of a more personal nature are unavailable to the public.
Related MaterialThe British Library holds an oral history interview with Jane Bown (soon to be made availble online, 2021). Details as follows:

- Item title: Jane Bown interviewed by Amanda Hopkinson
- Collection title: Oral History of British Photography
- British Library SHELFMARK: C459/31
- Contributor: Bown, Jane 1925-2014 (speaker, female; interviewee; photographer)
- Contributor: Hopkinson, Amanda, 1948- (speaker, female; interviewer)
- Contributor: Hopkinson, Amanda (sound recordist)
- Recording date: 1993-02-01
- Recording location: Alton, Hampshire, England, UK
- Item duration: 2 hr. 25 min. 22 sec.
- Performance note: Portrait photographer, best known for her work for the Observer newspaper. Author of several books of photographs. The interview covers her childhood, life in the WRENs and career as a photographer.
- The permanent link to the catalogue entry for this recording is: http://sami.bl.uk/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5?searchdata1=CKEY5024621


CopyrightThe right of Jane Bown to be identified as the author of this Collection has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyrioght, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

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