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Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer

The Queen's Gallery, Edinburgh
3 stars
The best Royal portrait ever was a line drawing gracing the cover of
post-punk zine City Fun in 1981 to commemorate the wedding of Prince
Charles and Lady Di. A classic image of the happy couple was waggishly
reconfigured so the couldn’t-believe-his-luck fruitcake’s hand was
stuffed into his doomed fiance’s blouse, groping away like bilio.

While something similarly disrespectful should accompany Wills and
Kate’s forthcoming nuptials, there’s none of that in this handsomely
displayed archive of the definitive Royal snapper, primarily because
Adams ditched his subjects once puberty got the better of them. Leaving
aside how Adams would probably end up on the sex register today, we
take a sepia-tinted tour through the birth of Princesses Elizabeth and
Margaret, through to HRH’s own offspring Charles and Anne, and a
subsequent slice of the twentieth century establishment en route.

Princesses Liz and Mags seem to lose their sparkle as they get older,
until the wonderful final shot of what could be any normal 1950s family
at leisure. The overall effect is of wandering through the set of a
Stephen Poliakoff TV play; stately, regal and beautifully shot.

Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer, The Queen's Gallery, Edinburgh until
June 5th

The List, March 2011

ends

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