100 Faces of London


In addition to the exhibition, an extraordinary, large-format ‘Heritage Book’ was produced, of archival quality.   Larger than A2 in size (450x620mm or 17x25 inches) the volume was beautifully bound for longevity by a firm of specialist bookbinders.   In its own protective ‘library case’ and with 110 pages, including high-quality prints of all 100 portraits, the tome weighs a hefty 20 kg, or around 44 lbs.   Only two copies were produced:  the photographer has retained one;  the other was presented to the British Library, as a gift from the photographer and from his sitters to the great city that they had all made their home.

All photographs:  copyright © Milan Svanderlik - London - UK

Page Modified:   5th February 2019

Hal, the very first sitter, with one of the finished Heritage Books

Every page of these two magnificent volumes received the photographer’s personal attention and the highest quality of output was successfully maintained for each individual portrait printed.  The photographer’s partner, Gerald Stuart Burnett, looked after the introductory pages and kept an eye on the accuracy of all the other text.

Three sample pages ( out of 110 ) from the Heritage Book

The gift of the ‘100 Faces of London’ Heritage Book was graciously accepted by the British Library at St Pancras and it is now lodged within the photographic collections there, where it will be retained for posterity - British Library Shelfmark: Photo 1249.  

The Book was officially presented to the Library’s Lead Curator for Visual Arts, Mr John Falconer, during the exhibition’s official opening ceremony on 12th June 2012.   Amongst other things, Mr Falconer made the following observations in his acceptance speech:

“It is a very great pleasure to accept this wonderful photographic tribute to the cultural and ethnic diversity of London for the permanent photographic collections of the British Library. The strengths of the Library’s photographic collections are most firmly rooted in the 19th century and I did initially wonder how such an acquisition would fit with our existing holdings. But the title, 100 Faces of London, reminded me of a distinguished photographic forebear in our collections. In the mid-1840s, in the formative first decade of photography, two Edinburgh photographers, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, produced a (similarly massive!) volume of portraits of the inhabitants of Edinburgh, entitled One Hundred Calotype Sketches, generally considered one of the finest achievements of early photography.

“This fortuitous coincidence of both title and subject matter underlines the continuity of photography’s engagement with human experience and the medium’s unique ability to capture the historical moment in the fascinating variety of human expression. These two works speak to each other across a period of over a century and a half and the preservation of Milan Svanderlik’s monumental work in the British Library is both appropriate and gratefully welcomed.“

All the sitters who attended the Official Opening of the Exhibition, on 12th June 2012, gathered round the Heritage Book, together with Mr John Falconer of the British Library and the photographer himself.

Presented to the British Library, at St Pancras, the Heritage Book will be retained for posterity.

Early in 2012, the 'Journeys' Exposition was installed in the foyer of the St Martin's Crypt, remaining there until the end of November that year.  It featured portraits from 100 Faces of London, as well as the Heritage Book (behind glass) and proved to be useful pre-publicity for the exhibition.