Patrick Lichfield, photographer, Died at 66


Thomas Patrick John Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield commonly known as Patrick Lichfield died on the 11th of November 2005 at the age of 66, he was an English photographer from the Anson family.

He inherited the Earldom of Lichfield in 1960 from his paternal grandfather. Born 25 April 1939, he was the only son of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas William Arnold Anson, Viscount Anson (1913–1958), the eldest son and heir apparent of Thomas Edward Anson, 4th Earl of Lichfield (1883–1960).

His mother was born Anne Bowes-Lyon (1917–1980, who subsequently became Princess Anne of Denmark after divorce and remarriage), a niece of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Lichfield was educated at two boarding independent schools: at Wellesley House School, in the coastal town of Broadstairs in Kent, and at Harrow School, in Harrow-on-the-Hill in North West London, followed by the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, in the small town of Sandhurst in Berkshire.

Lichfield joined the Grenadier Guards in 1959. On leaving the Army in 1962, he began to work as a photographer’s assistant, and built up his own reputation, partly as a result of having access to the Royal Family.

He was selected to take the official photographs of the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981, and subsequently became one of the UK’s best-known photographers.

From 1999 onwards he was a pioneer of digital photography as a professional standard.

Lichfield grew up at the family home, Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire, remaining there after his parents’ divorce.

He maintained a 35-room apartment at Shugborough to the end of his life, long after the house had been taken over by the National Trust.

He was given his first camera at the age of six as a present when he was packed off to prep school. Typically, he was punished after taking an informal picture of his relative, the future queen, at a cricket match.

At his holiday home on Mustique, fellow sojourners included Princess Margaret, the Jaggers, David Bowie and Raquel Welch.

It was there that he sustained serious injuries in 1991 after falling 18ft over a wall while helping a fellow guest to remove their boots.

He had a sound practical grasp of the art of photography – as illustrated in his book and video Lichfield on Photography – and produced a solid body of competent work in the field of portraiture, as shown in his collected Lichfield In Retrospect.

Because of his name and reputation, however, he tended to be unfairly underrated as a dedicated professional photographer.