LONDON – A trove of previously unseen photos taken by Paul McCartney as the Beatles shot to global stardom will go on display in London this year.
The National Portrait Gallery announced Wednesday that the exhibition, titled “Eyes of the Storm,” will help mark the gallery's reopening in June after a three-year refurbishment.
Gallery director Nicholas Cullinan said McCartney, approached the gallery in 2020 saying he had rediscovered a batch of photos from late 1963 and early 1964 that he had thought were lost. The pictures cover a brief, transformative time when the Beatles rose from sensations in their own country to a worldwide phenomenon, notably their breakthrough in the U.S. and historic appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Cullinan said they were an “extraordinary” set of images of “such a famous and important cultural moment … taken by someone who was really, as the exhibition title alludes, in the eye of the storm.”
“Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of The Storm” opens June 28 and runs to Oct. 1. A companion book will come out two weeks earlier in the U.S. and Britain, according to a joint announcement by the British and American publishers.
“Anyone who rediscovers a personal relic or family treasure is instantly flooded with memories and emotions, which then trigger associations buried in the haze of time," McCartney said in a statement issued through his publishers.
"This was exactly my experience in seeing these photos, all taken over an intense three-month period of travel, culminating in February 1964. It was a wonderful sensation to be plunged right back. Here was my own record of our first huge trip, a photographic journal of The Beatles in six cities, beginning in Liverpool and London, followed by Paris ... and then what we regarded as the big time, our first visit as a group to America.”
The gallery is due to reopen June 22. Other exhibitions slated for this year include a retrospective of the 20th-century English photographer Yevonde, a show of drawings by David Hockney and an exhibition of portraits by Black artists from the U.S. and Britain.