Terry O'Neill - SPOTLIGHT: Photographs from A Private London Collection Online Auction London Friday, July 7, 2023 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • The SPOTLIGHT collection has a unique emphasis on works that are signed by both the artist and the sitter, including 5 lots in this offering. These photographs are lasting documents of the creative collaboration between the artist and the sitter.

    • Provenance

      Directly from the artist

    • Literature

      T. O'Neill, Celebrity, London: Little, Brown, 2003, pp. 50-51
      T. O'Neill, Eltonography: A Life in Pictures, Rickmansworth, Evans Mitchell, 2008, pp. 10-11
      Terry O'Neill: The A-Z of Rock 'n' Roll, Woodbridge: ACC, 2014, pp. 142-143
      T. O'Neill, Every Picture Tells a Story, Woodbridge: ACC, 2016, pp. 94-95 (variants)
      Elton John by Terry O'Neill: The Definition Collection with Unseen Images, London: Cassell, 2019, n.p.

    • Artist Biography

      Terry O'Neill

      British • 1938 - 2019

      Terry O'Neill (1938-2019) was a British photographer who documented the great legends of pop culture throughout a career spanning over fifty years. His list of subjects includes The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, the British Royal family, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Jean Shrimpton, Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot and Orson Welles, among others.

      In the 1960s, O’Neill used a 35mm film camera, a novelty for the time which offered a distinctly candid and more casual approach to photography. With the 35mm, O'Neill was able to create photographs discreetly, candidly and spontaneously, with less distance between him and his subjects. In 1963, his first ever photograph was published, a now classic image of The Beatles while they were recording their debut studio album, Please, Please Me, shot in the yard in the back of Abbey Studios. The iconic photographs O'Neill took of legends such as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Elton John helped establish a visual language for their larger-than-life personas early in the artists' careers.  According to O'Neill, "No one had ever photographed a pop group before so I could get away with anything. I just did what I thought a pop group should look like."  

      On photographing his famous sitters, O’Neill affirmed "You must like the people, that’s the key to any job." 

      View More Works



Lot offered with No Reserve

Elton John Performing a Handstand

Gelatin silver print, printed later.
35.7 x 35 cm (14 x 13 3/4 in.)
Signed, numbered 3/50 by the artist and additionally signed by Elton John in ink in the margin.

Full Cataloguing

£2,000 - 3,000 •♠

Sold for £3,048

Contact Specialist

Justine Gruser
Specialist, Photographs

Clare Lamport
Associate Specialist and Cataloguer, Photographs

General Enquiries
+44 20 7318 4092

SPOTLIGHT: Photographs from A Private London Collection Online Auction

7 - 14 July 2023