Pearl Freeman (active 1934 – circa 1960)
Pearl Freeman was a portrait photographer who ran a studio at 4 Berkeley Street, Piccadilly, London, active from 1931 to 1954. A contemporary of Dorothy Wilding and Yevonde, Pearl worked primarily in black and white but also experimented with colour, such as in a portrait of Panna Mehta from 1931.
It is probable that Pearl was part of the studio partnership Vaughan & Freeman which existed up to the early 30s. Her earliest credited portrait is of the writer Jean Rhys in the 1920s and subjects from the 30s included actress Anna Neagle, skater Sonie Henje and writer Dodie Smith. Vaughan & Freeman photographed the famed pilot Amy Johnson and is credited with the original in the 1930 photomontage in the NPG collection. Pearl had an exhibition of her portraits in 1933, including some of celebrated photographer Cecil Beaton.
In an article in the Newcastle Sunday Sun, 4th September 1932, Pearl is described as the ‘noted photographer of society beauties whose work has adorned almost every British newspaper and periodical’. Credits appear throughout the 1930s, 40s and early 50s for her portraits of stars of the stage, ballet, and sporting world; from politicians to debutantes, brides-to-be to Wimbledon players.
Pearl’s work appeared in publications such as The Sketch, The Bystander, The Tatler and Illustrated London News in the 1920s and 30s, and then in regional publications until the early 50s. During the war years, she specialised in portraits of servicemen and women.
Her lovely ¾ portrait of Lady Tedder appeared on the 5 June 1946 cover of Tatler and Bystander magazine and her portrait of Mrs Caroline Carew Pole graced the cover of Country Life magazine, 31 October 1952.
A selection of her portraits is held in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.