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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Royal photographer laid bare: Lord Lichfield's collection of nudes displayed for the first time in new exhibition

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A nude woman is captured climbing the escalator in Moscow

He was famed for his royal commissions - capturing The Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer on their wedding day.

But while he was busy snapping the upper echelons of society, the late Patrick Litchfield also had his lens fixed on the female figure.

Revealed for the first time, his lesser-known collection of nudes are the subject of a new London exhibition.

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the 5th Earl of Lichfield, who was the Queen's first cousin

Opening today, images include Good Morning America, a 1990 picture of a woman in a see-through silk dress looking down on Central Park in New York.

Also featured are Checker Cab - a topless model in the back of a New York taxi - and Moscow Underground from 1989.

While Sixties icon Marsha Hunt, English actress Tracy Reed, Australia's best-known pin-up girl Karen Pini and Bianca Jagger are some of named subjects to appear.

photo of nakedgirls
Checker Cab - a topless model in the back of a New York taxi

Lichfield - the 5th Earl of Lichfield, who was the Queen's first cousin once removed - didn't use his title in his professional life and first used a camera at the age of seven, taking pictures of his family and scenes at his home, Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire.

He went on to work for magazines around the world including Life and Vogue, and published several books after getting his big break photographing the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

He was the official photographer at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana in 1981 and was chosen by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to take official pictures of her Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Christie’s photography expert Philippe Garner believes the nude portraits show Lichfield at his best.

'What he was known for was celebrating style and glamour. His nudes are a natural extension of what he did.

'Essentially, his photographs tended to be the stuff of dreams. He was a dandy and was somebody who, if he saw an opportunity to make life beautiful, felt he had a duty to do so,' he told the Evening Standard.

He died in 2005 aged 66 after suffering a major stroke. He had recently taken portraits of Baroness Thatcher to mark her 80th birthday.

Following the news of his death she said: 'Patrick Lichfield was not only one of the most talented and professional of photographers, he was also an absolute delight to sit for.'

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Lichfield first used a camera at the age of seven, taking pictures of his family

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