“I like to make people look as good as they would like to look, and then with luck, a shade better,” and that he did exceptionally well. That is precisely why we asked Norman Parkinson to photograph our wedding in August 1984. This is one of my favorite photographs we did with him… a reflection of the woman behind the man.

©Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes & the Norman Parkinson Archive
Norman Parkinson changed the face of fashion photography and influenced generations of photographers that followed when he took his models out of the artificially lit studio into the real world. He was one of the first to master outdoor color photography whilst shooting in fabulously exotic locations during his tenure at Vogue with the equally legendary Diana Vreeland. You can bet your bottom dollar this book, due out in October, will be sitting in a place of pride on my coffee table.


 

© Norman Parkinson Ltd., provided courtesy of the Norman Parkinson Archive, London

NORMAN PARKINSON

A Very British Glamour

By Louise Baring

with contributions by Grace Coddington and Jerry Hall

Rizzoli New York, 2009


Norman Parkinson: A Very British Glamour is a lavish portrait of Parkinson’s long career from the 1930s through the 1980s. In a unique collaboration with the Norman Parkinson Archive in London, his iconic photographs for Vogue, Queen, and Harper’s Bazaar are reproduced alongside a trove of previously unpublished fashion work. Parkinson’s iconic images are also shown here, providing the full breadth of his career. This exciting and definitive look into Parkinson’s illustrious legacy is sure to rank among the most important publications on fashion and photography.

 


I’ll never forget first clapping eyes on the 6’5″ frame of the elegant man with the upturned mustache and impish glint who would later become our dear friend. The 71 year old had just stepped off a plane after traveling to four different continents in the five days preceding, and come directly to our flat on Pont street with a joie de vivre about him that was intoxicating. You couldn’t help but adore him.


©Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes & the Norman Parkinson Archive


Oh…the arguments I had with my parents over seating at that wedding! They were determined that he would make the perfect dinner partner for my spinster Auntie Vera…ignoring my protests that he was already married to one of the most beautiful women in the world, model Wenda Parkinson (nee Rogerson), who appears on the cover of this new book…as she did in so many of his legendary photos. “Parks” was however quite taken with our punk friends from Birmingham (notice him lurking in the background). He would often ask me to invite them to stuffy events to help liven things up a bit.


Ronnie Elmets, Tick, Parks, Steve Elmets, Jane Kahn, Patty Bell, & Charlotte Elmets

©Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes & the Norman Parkinson Archive


One such occasion was the Pirelli Calender charity auction. Parks discreetly enlisted my help in keeping Wenda from bidding on everything by seating me one side while he sat the other side of her. Problem was…no one was on arm patrol to keep my arm from stabbing in the air with excitement. Wenda left empty handed, but I ended up going home with a stunning backless Bruce Oldfield number which was later donated to the Victoria & Albert museum in London after I caused a minor international stir exposing a little too much back cleavage when I wore it.


The picture of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret all dressed in royal blue is probably one of the most famous Norman Parkinson photographs ever. It was the first photograph to break protocol (normally the Queen would be in the center), and to me, a symbol of his sincere fondness for the Queen Mother. Parks shared with us the story of the first time he went to Buckingham palace. He was shown into a room where he sat nervously waiting. The Queen Mother must have read the disappointment in his face when she finally appeared and said, “Mr. Parkinson, is there something wrong?” “Well Mum” he replied, “I was rather hoping you would be wearing a tiara.” Evidently she left the room only to return a few moments later with an entire box full of them and said, “take your pick.”


©Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes & the Norman Parkinson Archive


In 1987, Nick and I attended a party for the launch of Norman Parkinson’s ‘Porkinson Bangers’ at the Hamilton Gallery in Mayfair. Bemused that there were no decent British bangers on the island of Tobago where he and Wenda moved in 1963, Parks built his own pig farm, and set about making his own (I still giggle over the preposterous image of that glamorous man mucking about on a pig farm). Initially only friends and family enjoyed them, but eventually Porkinson bangers were served on the Concorde, and marketed as “the world’s first supersonic sausage.” Yet another example of how deliciously eccentric the man truly was. You can still buy Porkinson bangers in the UK today.


Julie Anne Rhodes by Norman Parkinson

©Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes & the Norman Parkinson Archive


After 40 years of devotion, Wenda died in Parks arms later that year. He was lost without her. There was to be a lifetime retrospective of his work opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York just a few months later. After receiving not one, but three invitations, I got the impression Parks needed a friend. I flew in from Paris to attend the magnificent black tie affair on his arm. I witnessed the quintessential Englishman fight back tears as he was genuinely touched by all of the fuss they’d made over him and his monumental talent. Now I can’t help being sentimentally indulgent as, yet again, his life’s work is feted with this book.


Julie Anne Rhodes, Norman Parkinson, and Nick Rhodes

 

 

©Julie Anne & Nick Rhodes & the Norman Parkinson Archive


Read more about Norman Parkinson on my other blog


Porkinsons Al Fresco

 

recipe and photo Courtesy of www.porkinson.co.uk


Servings: 4


Ingredients:

  • 4 Porkinson bangers
  • 4 baking potatoes, scrubbed
  • 3 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • the juice of half a lime
  • 2 teaspoons tomato puree
  • a good splash of tobasco


Directions:


1). Cut a slash along the length of the potatoes and place in a pre-heated oven gas mark 6, 400°F, 200°C. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the skin is crusty and the flesh is tender.


2). Meanwhile, baste the Porkinson Bangers by mixing the honey, soy, lime juice, tomato puree and Tabasco. Brush the mixture liberally over the sausages, place on a shallow roasting tray and transfer to the oven with the potatoes – or place under a grill. Cook these, basting and turning all the while for a spicy shiny finish, keeping an eye on them so the honey does not scorch.


3). Open out the potatoes by squeezing. Pop a Porkinson in each split and pour the baste over the sausages. Serve with mixed salad.


Serving Suggestions: Mixed salad.


Note: For those of us unable to buy the brand Porkinson Bangers since we live outside the UK, you can substitute any English-style pork sausage. I know Gelsons here in Los Angeles make them….it just won’t be quite as good as “the real Porkinson”.

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  • September 8, 2009
    4:13 am

    Wow, what a fabulous entry, Jewels!! Not only do I want to run out for Bangers, I want to buy the book. Where can I get it?? Big hugs, Jean.

  • September 8, 2009
    6:52 pm

    Fascinating Jewels! Sharon McConnell Worster

  • September 8, 2009
    7:40 pm

    Yum! Wonder if I can find the bangers here in US but I guess I could use any sausage. Sounds delicious! Budgie Bardbury

  • September 8, 2009
    10:36 pm

    One of the best posts yet Jewels… I love Norman Parkinson's work, from his early days at Vogue to those stunning wedding portraits of yours (I don't know anyone who could boast of more glamorous gorgeous wedding photographs – how lucky were you!). Fascinating to read about the man behind the camera, cant wait to have the book on my coffee table too!B x

  • September 8, 2009
    10:42 pm

    Hi Jean…wherever fine books are sold. Here is the link for Rizzoli New York http://www.rizzoliusa.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780847833429.Budgie, I would ask at the meat counter in your local grocery store. If they do not carry it, they may be able to tell you who does in your area. English pork sausage is not smokey and has quite distinctive spices affecting the flavor. Mmmmmm…mt mouth is watering just thinking about them!

  • September 9, 2009
    12:39 am

    Hi Julie Anne,What a talent indeed in Norman Parkinson and what a facinating man. I love the cheeky shot of him in the background with your punk friends.I remember the backless Bruce Oldfield number you wore and the conversations in High School about it. Nevertheless, you wore it extremely well and the "stir" over it was only because others could not wear it as well as you. ENVIOUS comes to mind!Curious though, is the dress still at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London? Looking forward to purchasing the book on Norman Parkinson.Aussie Mum, Melbourne,Australia

  • September 9, 2009
    3:55 pm

    great blog jewels… adore those photographs! x Beckielou Brown

  • September 9, 2009
    4:39 pm

    Hi Aussie Mom…the Victorai and Albert museum did an exhibition of the dresses from the Pireli calender in 1985 ot 1986. As far as I know they still have the dress, but I don't know if they keep it in their archives or display it. I Haven't been there for many years.

  • September 9, 2009
    6:52 pm

    love what you're doing, absolutely glamorously addicted. Madeleine Gallay

  • September 10, 2009
    1:50 pm

    Julie Anne, I think Pink's needs to add those to their menu! What a great blog, great pics, what a photographer!Laura

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