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The Stones and their Scene: Eric Swayne's recently discovered archive on view at Proud Chelsea
Grace Coddington Italian Vogue, 1966. © Eric Swayne.

LONDON.- Proud Chelsea announced The Stones and their Scene, a personal and intimate archive from sixties photographer Eric Swayne documenting icons like Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and the creative contemporaries that made up their infamous social circle.

Eric Swayne's fresh, reportage style -- and open access to the iconic faces of the time -- eloquently evokes the innocence and hope of that unique era. The Stones and their Scene captures Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts at that precious moment when they were on the cusp of greatness, surrounded by a troop of revolutionary artists, musicians, photographers and models; many of whom were Swayne's friends. Between them they would all play their part in London's 60s creative explosion, and their cultural impact is still felt today. This is a unique and intimate record of that special time, taken from the inside.

Proud Galleries has been given exclusive access to Swayne’s recently discovered archive -- uncovered by Swayne’s son Tom after his passing a few years ago -- meaning this exhibition unveils several never-before-seen photographs of Stones Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts; David Bailey; and sixties beauties Anita Pallenburg, Chrissie Shrimpton, Pattie Boyd, Jane Birkin and Catherine Deneuve.

Swayne’s son Tom says of discovering his father’s collection; “I discovered a beautiful trove of unseen images: Mick shot informally in Dad’s studio, just test shots for a friend, and Keith and Charlie too – a whole series of them fooling around in Dad’s flat with Chrissie Shrimpton. There's Bailey and Catherine Deneuve canoodling in Normandy as newlyweds, Mary Quant fitting a miniskirt on Grace Coddington in her flat in the Kings Road, Vidal Sassoon styling a five-point bob, and Ossie Clark chatting to Anita Pallenberg in the Quorum boutique. Some of the sweetest images are of Pattie Boyd, who Dad dated before she married George Harrison.”

Eric Swayne was born in the East End of London in 1932. Following in his father’s footsteps he entered the police force, but was quickly kicked out for re-tailoring his uniform! After a stint in Paris as a nightclub singer he returned to London and used his Parisian experience to land a job as barista in one of Soho's hip new coffee houses, which in those days were the height of cosmopolitan sophistication and home to the in-crowd. It was here that he met Bailey, also an East End boy. They struck up an instant friendship and the doors of London's happening counter-culture swung open.

Swayne’s early friendship with Bailey and Duffy (who photographed him on the back stairs of Vogue House in 1961) opened his eyes to all that was happening in London at this pivotal moment. His good looks and charisma meant he quickly became a “face on the scene” and he seized the opportunity to pursue a life-long passion for photography.

With no formal training or apprenticeship, Swayne picked up a camera for the first time at the age of 29 and began photographing his circle of friends: Bailey, Donovan, Duffy and several of the actors, models and stars on London’s unique scene. By the mid Sixties, he was shooting for Vanity Fair, Queen and Italian Vogue. His was a classic Sixties tale.

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