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National Library of Wales
McBean, Angus, manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 MSMCBEAN

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Angus McBean Manuscripts

Short Title: McBean, Angus, manuscripts

Creation date(s): 1945-1987

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 3 volumes

Name of creator(s): Angus McBean


Administrative/Biographical history: Angus McBean (1904-1990), photographer, was born in Newbridge, Monmouthshire, on 8 June 1904, the son of Clem and Irene McBean. The family moved regularly due to his father's work as a mine surveyor. He attended Monmouth Grammar School, 1915-1921, and Newport Technical College, 1921, then worked as a bank clerk, 1921-1924. Following his father's death in 1924 he moved to London with his mother and sister and worked in a department store for several years.
He had been interested in photography, the theatre and mask making since his teenage years and in 1934 he became assistant to photographer Hugh Cecil (1889-1974). The following year he opened his own studio. A commission from Ivor Novello to photograph the play 'The Happy Hypocrite' in 1936 eventually led to him becoming one of the foremost theatrical photographers of his time. He also became famous for his surrealist portraits of the stars of theatre and film, comedians and pop stars. Work for record company EMI included the famous photograph of the Beatles for the cover of their first album Please Please Me (1963).
From 1945 McBean was based at a studio in Endell Street, Covent Garden, employing up to ten people; he relocated to Islington in the late 1960s. He retired in 1970 and went to live at Fleming's Hall, Suffolk. He died on 9 June 1990.


Scope and content/abstract: A visitors book and two 'rotation books' relating to the studio of the photographer Angus McBean, 1945-1987. The visitors book contains over one thousand signatures from 1949 to 1968, almost all associated with the entertainment industry.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: Arranged according to NLW MSS reference numbers: NLW MSS 24041-3D.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply. Information regarding ownership of Angus McBean copyright can be found at (viewed June 2013).

Finding aids:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: Left by McBean to his partner and studio assistant, David Ball, the consigner in the 2013 auction.

Immediate source of acquisition: Purchased at auction (lot 30) from Lacy Scott & Knight, Bury St Edmunds, 12 April 2013.



Note: Title based on contents.

Archivist's note: Description compiled by Rhys Morgan Jones. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Angus McBean and Adrian Woodhouse, Angus McBean (London, 1982); Val Williams, 'McBean, Angus Rowland (1904-1990)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004; online ed., September 2012) [accessed 26 June 2013].

Rules or conventions: Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: June 2013

Autograph albums | England | London
McBean, Angus, | 1904-1990 | Archives
Photographers | England | London

Personal names
McBean , Angus , 1904-1990

Corporate names


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