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A London gallery will show photos of McCartney from the Beatlemania era

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LONDON — A wealth of never-before-seen photos taken by Paul McCartney as the Beatles rose to global stardom will be on display in London this year.

The National Portrait Gallery announced on Wednesday that the exhibition, titled “Eyes of the Storm”, will help mark the gallery’s reopening in June after a three-year renovation.

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 thought were lost. The footage covers a brief period of transformation where The Beatles went from sensation in their own country to a worldwide phenomenon, including their breakthrough in the United States and their historic appearance on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’.

Cullinan said it was an “extraordinary” set of images “from such a famous and important cultural moment…taken by someone who was truly, as the title of the exhibit suggests, in the eye of the storm”.

“Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of The Storm” opens June 28 and ends October 1. A companion book will be released two weeks earlier in the US and Britain, according to a joint announcement from the UK and US publishers.

“Anyone who rediscovers a personal relic or a family treasure is instantly flooded with memories and emotions, which then trigger associations buried in the mist of time,” McCartney said in a statement released by its editors.

“That was exactly my experience seeing these photos, all taken during an intense three month period of travel, culminating in February 1964. It was a wonderful feeling to be immersed right away. Here is my own recording of our first big trip, a photographic diary of the Beatles in six cities, starting with Liverpool and London, followed by Paris…and then what we considered the highlight, our first group visit to America.”

The gallery is due to reopen on June 22. Other exhibitions planned for this year include a retrospective of 20th-century English photographer Yevonde, an exhibition of drawings by David Hockney and an exhibition of portraits by black artists from the United States and Britain.

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