Barbara Cartland dictating one of her many novels from the comfort of her home.
Note: Image unearthed January 2013.
I had read that Barbara Cartland was celebrating the fact that she had published a vast number of books and I thought that this would make a lovely feature within the National Newspapers.
Mobile Phones weren’t in circulation back then and I’d arranged to photograph Barabara at her country pile. On arrival, to my surprise, Barbara opened the door sporting a swollen black eye. “Arthur” she said, “I’m so sorry but I’ve been calling your office all morning, I’m afraid that we’ll have to postpone our photoshoot as some stupid person left a garden rake on the lawn and I’ve stepped on it! It’s given me this awful black eye! I’m sorry Arthur but you’ll just have to come back another time”. Well, what could I do? I turned around and headed back down to London without a picture.
A short while later we were on the telephone to one another re-scheduling the photoshoot. She mentioned that she’d been photographed by many high profile Photographers, one of which was Norman Parkinson. “Arthur, whenever Parkinson photographs me he always brings along lots and lots of lighting, do you think you could do the same?” I knew that she could be tricky, so naturally I obliged, I can only think that she wanted to be wrinkle free in the pictures.
Her country house was called Camfield Place, near Hatfield in Hertfordshire and on my second visit she answered the door wearing a two piece tweed suit. Well, there was a picture before me and I immediately commented how wonderful it was to see her looking so relaxed and suggested that we do a shot of her wearing it. “Oh no!” she said laughing, I can’t be seen in this, now why don’t you set up in the library while I get changed into one of my frocks?”
To make Barbara feel at ease, I set up lots of photographic lighting, just as she had requested. She was incredibly bossy during the photoshoot but it seemed to go very well.
Afterwards, she ushered me into her dining room where she’d arranged a small Tea Party. Her butler brought us tea and a large plate of giant meringue’s. Not the easiest of foods to consume when you’re trying to hold a conversation with someone as sharp as Barbara. During the Tea Party not only did she let it slip that she didn’t find men with beards remotely attractive but one of my sticky meringue’s collapsed in my hand, onto my knee and landed onto the carpet, much to the delight of her Pekinese puppies.
I had shot all of the pictures onto rolls of 35mm film and you had to wait until the film was processed and contacted before you could review the pictures, so out of courtesy, the next day I sent Barbara some contact sheets for her perusal and heard nothing back. About a week later, I was sitting at home in my kitchen when the phone rang, Barbara had tracked me down on my day off, “Arthur, I’ve got the pictures and I don’t like them! You must NOT publish these pictures!” “But Barbara”, I said, “it’s too late, the pictures have been syndicated around the world!”
With that, Barbara screeched down the phone, “IN WHICH CASE, YOU’LL BE THE LAST PHOTOGRAPHER WHO’LL EVER PHOTOGRAPH ME!!” – And put the phone down.
Camera: Leica 35mm.
Film stock: Kodak Tri-X Pan.
Location: Camfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.
Print Type: Fibre-based Harman Galerie FB Digital.
Printed by: Metro Imaging.
All prints are limited editions, no further prints are produced once sold.
60″ prints / edition of 5
50″ prints / edition of 10
40″ prints / edition of 20
30″ prints / edition of 30
20″ prints / edition of 50
12″ prints / edition of 50
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Optional Dry Mounting: Professional Dry Mounting of the larger print sizes can be arranged at an additional cost, the print would then be perfectly flat and ready for framing. However, this makes the overall size very bulky for transporting, so, it may be best for us to send a rolled print directly to your framers and let them carry out the works. You just need to make sure that they are insured as we cannot take responsibility for any damages that may occur.
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Copyright: © Arthur Steel / The Arthur Steel Archive.
Barbara Cartland Quotes:
“After fifty a woman has to choose between losing her figure or her face. My advice is to keep your face, and stay sitting down.”
“The right diet directs sexual energy into the parts that matter.”
“I’ll keep going till my face falls off.”
“Among men, sex sometimes results in intimacy; among women, intimacy sometimes results in sex.”
“I always wear boot polish on my eyelashes, because I am a very emotional person and it doesn’t run when I cry.”
“The reason why Englishmen are the best husbands in the world is because they want to be faithful. A Frenchman or an Italian will wake up in the morning and wonder what girl he will meet. An Englishman wakes up and wonders what the cricket score is.”
Biography: During her long career Barbara Cartland wrote an incredible 723 books, which were translated into 38 languages, making her the most prolific author of the 20th Century. She left behind a staggering 160 manuscripts which are still in the process of being published to this day. She sold over 1000 Million books, giving her a place in the Guinness Book of Records. Her Novels of romance and love have been enjoyed by generations in over 36 countries.
Dame (Mary) Barbara Hamilton Cartland, DBE, CStJ, (9 July 1901 – 21 May 2000), was an English author. As Barbara Cartland she is known for her numerous romantic novels but she also wrote under her married name Barbara McCorquodale.
She also became one of London’s most prominent society figures and one of Britain’s most popular media personalities, appearing often at public events and on television, dressed in her trademark pink and discoursing on love, health, and social and political issues. She is widely regarded as having originated the phrase: “I’m bringing sexy back”, as popularised by singer Justin Timberlake. Barbara Cartland is the sixth most translated writer worldwide and the third best selling. Only William Shakespeare and Agatha Christie have outsold her.