Life and Colour


Yevonde was a London-based photographer of portraits and still-life throughout much of the twentieth century. She was a pioneer in photographic techniques, experimenting with solarisation and the Vivex colour process.


ISBN: 9781855145634 Category:


‘Yevonde’s ’30s portraits of high-society beauties and Hollywood stars are finally getting the attention they deserve.’British Vogue

‘Yevonde: Life and Colour opens at the revamped National Portrait Gallery … and will feature a comprehensive selection of works dreamed up by this brilliant artist across a 60-year-career. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more joyful show anywhere in the country.’ – Jennifer Higgie, The Telegraph

‘Be original or die would be a good motto for photographers to adopt…let them put life and colour into their work.’ – Yevonde.


Yevonde (1893-1975) was a businesswoman and tireless creator, as an innovator committed to colour photography when it was not considered a serious medium, her work is significant in the history of British portrait photography. Yevonde championed photography during a time where there were few women photographers working professionally, and this book tells the story of her life, works, and 60-year career.

Yevonde: Life and Colour brings the photographer’s works together again for the first time in 20 years and features previously unpublished works. This book showcases her experimentation with a range of techniques and genres including colour photography, portraiture, still-lifes, solarisation, and the Vivex colour process, and repositions her as a modern artist of the twentieth century.

This highly illustrated publication provides in-depth context to Yevonde’s images, considering their aesthetic and mythic references. Yevonde’s portraits embody glorified tradition countered with a desire for the new. Her most renowned body of work is a series of women dressed as goddesses posed in surreal tableaux from the 1930s.

Additional information

Weight 1746 g
Dimensions 25.6 x 30.7 cm
Publisher name National Portrait Gallery Publications
Publication date 20 September 2023
Number of pages 240
Format Hardback
Contributors Edited by Clare Freestone, Contributions by Pamela Roberts and Susanna Brown
Dimensions 25.6 x 30.7 cm
Weight 1746 g


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Yevonde”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Clare Freestone is Curator, Photography, at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Recent publications include Photographs in Dialogue UAE - 1971 - UK (2020) and Ida Kar: Bohemian Photographer (2011), with contributions made to Love Stories: Art, Passion & Tragedy (2020).

Pamela G. Roberts is a researcher and curator. Recent publications include Alvin Langdon Coburn (2015) and A Century of Color Photography (2008), with contributions made to Madame Yevonde: Be Original or Die (1999).

Susanna Brown is a photography curator who previously worked for the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Recent publications include Tim Walker: Wonderful Things (2019) and Horst: Photographer of Style (2014).

Lucinda Gosling is Head of Sales & Research at Mary Evans Picture Library. Recent publications include John Hassall: The Life and Art of the Poster King (2021), Great War Britain: The First World War at Home (2014) and Brushes and Bayonets: Cartoons, Sketches and Paintings of World War I (2008), with contributions made to Art of Feminism (2019).

Lizzie Broadbent has worked with teams for over 25 years in complex business, consulting and non-executive roles. Her blog, Women Who Meant Business, tells the stories of business women working in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Georgia Atienza is Assistant Curator, Photographs (Acquisitions and Collections), at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Contributions made to recent publications include Love Stories: Art, Passion & Tragedy (2020), Ida Kar: Bohemian Photographer (2011) and The Virginia Woolf Bulletin (Issue No. 21, January 2006).