Bill Brandt

Photography Centre, Rooms 99 – 101

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Photography is not a sport. It has no rules. Everything must be dared and tried!

Bill Brandt

Bill Brandt (1904 – 83) was one of the most influential British photographers of the 20th century. He photographed vivid interactions of social life and the realities of labour and class with imagination, compassion and humour. He was a witness to the Depression of the 1930s and the Blitz of 1940 and is credited with revising and renewing the major artistic genres of portraiture, landscape and the nude.

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Brandt enjoyed close relations with the V&A throughout his career, and the Museum acquired hundreds of works directly from the photographer, received some as gifts, and commissioned some literary portraits by Brandt. Brandt was also invited to curate photographic exhibitions for the Museum.

Collection Highlights

Bill Brandt, 'Early Morning on the River, London Bridge', about 1935, 2. © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.
Parlourmaid preparing a Bath Before Dinner, Bill Brandt, 1939 © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.
Coal-searcher Going Home to Jarrow, Bill Brandt, 1937 © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.
Bayswater Houses Lit by Moonlight, Bill Brandt, 1942 © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.
People Sheltering in the Tube, Elephant and Castle Underground Station, Bill Brandt, 1940 © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.
Francis Bacon, Bill Brandt, 1963 © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.
Campden Hill, London, Bill Brandt, 1949 © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.
Policeman in a Dockland Alley, Bermondsey, Bill Brandt, 1938 © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.
Dylan Thomas, Bill Brandt, 1941 © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.

Features

Background image: Background image: Coal-searcher Going Home to Jarrow, photograph by Bill Brandt, 1937. © Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.