All that is elegant, timeless and chic from the 1920s, 30s and 40s theatre and high society scene is captured in the Sasha collection. Scottish photographer Alexander ‘Sasha’ Stewart (1892 – 1953) was in demand across the pages of the Tatler, Sphere and Vanity Fair photographing the society balls, opening nights and country homes of the period’s demimonde. His pre-eminent London portrait studio was visited by the greatest actors of the time– John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward, and Gertrude Laurence – and Sasha also photographed Diaghilev’s modernist Russian ballet troupes and their constructivist costumes and sets, as they visited and performed in the capital. Sandwiched between the dark days of two world wars, Sasha’s world encompassed the modern, bright young things of the jazz age and Sasha was himself a progressive technical innovator. His Sashelite patented flash system allowed him to develop dramatic, theatrical lighting effects, and was in great demand by the rapidly growing moving picture business. Assisted by contacts from his film publicist wife, Leila Stewart, Sasha worked in the British film industry from the early thirties as publicity stills photographer for stars including his favourite sitter, Vivien Leigh. The Second World War and a subsequent shift away from studio style to more candid photography ended his career and he retired prematurely, dying in 1953.
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