Paul McCartney exhibition to launch at newly opened National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery has announced that it will be reopening later this year for a special exhibition featuring images from Sir Paul McCartney.

The show will include never before seen images of The Beatles in their early days, photographed by McCartney.

The exhibition comes after 80-year-old McCartney contacted the gallery upon rediscovering the images.

Director of the gallery, Dr Nicholas Cullinan: “Sir Paul approached us I think back in 2020 and said he had found these photographs which he remembered taking but thought had been lost.”

The photographs, taken between December 1963 and February 1964 capture The Beatles surge into fame in Liverpool, through to their performance to millions on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Cullinan said that the exhibition was “very interesting” and called the photographs “extraordinary”.

"We sat down with him and began going through the photographs and they are really extraordinary,” he said.

‘John and George’ by Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney/The National Portrait Gallery/PA)
‘John and George’ by Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney/The National Portrait Gallery/PA)

"To see these images which are unseen, of such a well-documented, such a famous and important cultural moment…

‘Self-portraits in a mirror’ by Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney/The National Portrait Gallery/PA)
‘Self-portraits in a mirror’ by Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney/The National Portrait Gallery/PA)

"And the fact they were taken by someone who was really, as the exhibition title alludes, in the eye of the storm, looking outside at what was happening."

Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm will run between 28 June and 1 October.

'Vivien Leigh' by Yevonde (Yevonde/The National Portrait Gallery/PA)
'Vivien Leigh' by Yevonde (Yevonde/The National Portrait Gallery/PA)

The exhibition is one of two major shows launching the gallery’s programme this summer.

The other, will be a part of Reframing Narratives: Women in Portraiture: the three year project funded by the CHANEL Culture Fund, aimed at improving representation of women at the gallery.

The exhibition, Yevonde: Life and Colour will explore the life and career of the 20th colour photography pioneer, Yevonde, who operated in the 1930s.

The show will include new prints discovered through research, cataloguing and digitisation of Yevonde’s archive.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.