Paul McCartney’s “Lost” Beatles Photos Go on Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

Paul McCartney and John Lennon Unseen Photo

John and George, Paris. 1964 (Photo: © 1964 Paul McCartney)

After closing its doors three years ago for a major redevelopment project, London's National Portrait Gallery will open its doors in June 2023. And to celebrate the grand reopening, the museum has announced a spectacular exhibition program that includes never-before-seen photographs of The Beatles. Taken by Paul McCartney, they will be included in 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm, which opens on June 28, 2023.

The photographs were taken by McCartney during the critical period when The Beatles rocketed to international success. Through his lens, McCartney takes us behind the scenes of “Beatlemania.” The intimate work gives insight into what it was like to go from performing locally in Liverpool to taking the stage on The Ed Sullivan Show with over 70 million people tuning in to watch.

The portraits, all taken with a 35mm camera, will also be included in a coffee-table book with the same name, also set to be released in June. The book will contain 275 photographs, which were culled from McCartney's private archive. Incredibly, the iconic musician had completely forgotten about the images, and they were only rediscovered in 2020 along with thousands of other photos from his archive.

“Anyone who rediscovers a personal relic or family treasure is instantly flooded with memories and emotions, which then trigger associations buried in the haze of time,” McCartney shared. “This was exactly my experience in seeing these photos, all taken over an intense three-month period of travel, culminating in February 1964.”

But the Paul McCartney exhibition certainly isn't the only reason to take a trip to the National Portrait Gallery. The museum is also paying homage to pioneering female photographers, starting with Yevonde. She innovated the use of color photography in the 1930s and was a trailblazing British photographer throughout her 60-year career. Yevonde: Life and Colour will open on June 22, 2023.

Drawings by David Hockney and an exhibition for the Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize round out 2023. In 2024, visitors can look forward to a major survey of African diasporic artists working in the UK and America, as well as an exhibition celebrating the artistry of Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron.

London's National Portrait Gallery reopens in June with an exhibition featuring never-before-seen photos of The Beatles taken by Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney Self-Portrait in 1964

Self-portraits in a mirror. Paris, 1964 (Photo: © 1964 Paul McCartney)

Pioneering female photographer Yevonde is also being honored with a survey of her work.

Vivien Leigh by Yevonde

Vivien Leigh. 1936, printed 2022/2023. (Photo: Yevonde, purchased with the Portrait Fund, 2021 © National Portrait Gallery, London)

Rosemary Chance Portrait by Yevonde

Mask (Rosemary Chance). 1938, printed 2022/2023. (Photo: Yevonde, purchased with the Portrait Fund, 2021 © National Portrait Gallery, London)

National Portrait Gallery: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the National Portrait Gallery.

Related Articles:

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John Lennon’s Report Card from 1956 Reveals What His Teachers Thought of Him

Endearing Childhood Portraits Reveal the Lives of Iconic Musicians Before They Were Famous

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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