Located in the Proscholium (just the Bodleian's way of saying foyer) of the
The exhibition shows a select few portraits from 1914 - 1922, at the time when Benington was one of the country's leading portrait photographers; you can certainly see why. There are a few in particular which capture the subject in their element which is very nice to see; prime examples of pictures painting a thousand words. These include portraits of illustrator Frank Dicksee photographed next to a large painting of a nude, Radcliffe observer Arthur Rambart in front of a large telescope, and actress Sybil Thorndike in character as Medea.
The star of the show, however, was clearly supposed to be Albert Einstein, with no less than four portraits displayed, and his face emblazoned on the website and the sandwich board outside. The portraits were fairly straight-forward, taken in a non-descript setting in
Einstein aside, most of the portraits did make for interesting viewing. It left me wanting more; which is a good thing on one hand, but with the Bodleian storing 200 of Benington's original glass negatives in their special collection, you would have thought they might have displayed few more. That said, they claim to be processing them digitally ready for an online catalogue coming soon. So if you can't make it out to the exhibition, it won't be long before you can peruse their collection from your own home.
My favourite part of the exhibition interestingly wasn't any of the portraits, but the 1920's advertisements in the copy of The Sphere that they had on display. One amusingly advertised a resort in