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Lady Natasha Johnston
, 1968

by Cecil Beaton

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 35.3 cm x 35.3 cm, image: 35.3 cm x 35.3 cm)

Natasha Johnston (1914-1984) was born Nataliya Konstantinovna Bagration-Moukhranskya, Princess Natasha Bagration, in Crimea. She married Charles Hepburn Johnston in 1944 in London. Johnston entered the diplomatic service in 1936, serving in Cairo, Europe and the Foreign Office before becoming British Ambassador to Jordan from 1956 to 1959. After a stint as Governor of Aden and two years as Deputy Under-Secretary of State, Sir Charles came to Australia as British High Commissioner in 1965, serving until 1971. A poet himself, he published translations of poems by Pushkin and Lermontov, and Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. Together, he and Natasha translated Turgenev's Sportsman's Notebook. Johnston also wrote various books on aspects of his career, including Mo and Other Originals, an account of colourful personalities such as the Johnstons' Egyptian butler Mo, whom Beaton drew in Canberra.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Hugo Vickers 2005
Accession number: 2005.100