New unseen Frederick Wilfred photographs at Museum of London
The Museum of London will be showcasing 15 previously unseen images of London on the cusp of 1950’s post war austerity and the swinging Sixties, captured by Frederick Wilfred who the museum describes as one of London’s best unsung photographic talents. Frederick Wilfred’s black and white photographs, displayed as part of the London Festival of Photography, document the daily lives of Londoners.
Although little known, Wilfred (1925-2010) was a professional photographer specialising in portraiture, for which he won numerous awards. But, from the late-50s till the mid-60s, he made a series of remarkable documentary photographs of London street life. The Museum of London acquired the archive of 134 street images in 2011.
The photographs display something of the nostalgic charm familiar to post-Second World War photography. Nevertheless, they form a poignant portrait of a society slowly emerging from the effects of the Second World War. Amongst the works on display are shots of the now lost Twickenham Lido, street-sweepers and news-vendors, and the iconic Battersea Power Station pouring smoke from all four chimneys.
Francis Marshall, Senior Curator of Art, says: "I was knocked out by Wilfred’s photographs. They’re marvellous images, with telling details and juxtapositions, yet they hadn’t been seen before. They reveal a lost London, still recovering from the austerities of the war.
"Wilfred didn’t leave much information about the images, so if you recognise a location or someone, perhaps even yourself, please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Director of London Festival of Photography, Brett Jefferson-Stott, says: "This is a significant body of a work by a single photographer, and of great importance to London, offering a rare insight into the variety of 1950s London. Photography is one of the best records of that period and this collection has a bit of everything, from well known iconic buildings to city workers to intimate cafe scenes.
"In an age of digital, and sometimes frivolous photography, we are always delighted to show important archive photography to the public for the first time, and are proud to be associated with this inaugural display of Frederick Wilfred's work."
The Frederick Wilfred display is part of our Year of Photography and will be followed by a LomoWall (opening 13 July), a display of Dorothy Bohm photographs (opening 17 November) and the second annual Guild of Picture Editors Awards exhibition.
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