Dame Merle Park (b. 1937)

Sitting room adjacent to the Royal Box
The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
11 November 1976

One of a number of rising ballerinas to emerge in the early 1960s, Park was the Senior Principal of the Royal Ballet from 1966. The portrait was taken in the sitting- room next to the Royal Box at the Royal Opera House.

‘For a little while she seemed disinterested – almost bored’, Schwartz recollected. However, ‘she explained that a dancer is more accustomed to expressing herself through her body rather than her face.’ He later reflected, ‘the portrait seen here was one I had made in the style of Ingres, the artist.’

Photos © National Portrait Gallery, London

Photos © National Portrait Gallery, London