For the first time, selected vintage works from the magazine's first period (1913–1936) will be displayed alongside works from the contemporary Vanity Fair, beginning with its re-launch in 1983. A total of a 150 classic images highlighting a photographic history of celebrity portraiture does justice to William Makepeace Thackeray's vivid literary characters.

Drawn from the legendary Condé Nast Archive, the exhibition is a chance to see works of lesser-known practitioners like the British-born theater photographer Florence Vandamm, some of the definitive portraits of the "Jazz Age," and a selection of previously unpublished images, including two portraits of author Virginia Woolf from a sitting with photographers Maurice Beck and Helen MacGregor in 1924.

A running list of master photographers, from Edward Steichen and Cecil Beaton to Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino, along with the magazine's unique mix of artistic importance, popular celebrity, excellent writing and, as seen here, superb imagery make for its enduring signature.

Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913 - 2008
February 14 through May 26, 2008

National Portrait Gallery
St. Martin's Place
London WC2H 0HE
T. +44 (0)20 7306 0055