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ID number:  BIRRC-A1090
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art
Artist / Maker:  Schwarz, Hans
Title / Object name:  Portrait of John Bennett
Object type:  Painting
Date made:  1985
Materials:  Acrylic on card
Measurements:  78 x 133.5 cm
BIRRC-A1090.jpg

John Bennett abandoned early ambitions of becoming an architect to train as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama. For much of his forty five year career he was a character actor in television drama appearing in dozens of productions, including The Forsyte Saga (1967), I, Claudius (1975) and Dr Who (1974 and 1977). His film credits include roles in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The House that Dripped Blood (1970), Watership Down (1978) and The Pianist (2002), alongside numerous theatre roles. One production that briefly made him instantly recognizable was a central role in Honey Lane (1967-1969). This weekly soap was one of the many 1960s productions that attempted to match the popularity of Coronation Street. Bennett played a fruit and veg stall holder in a tale of Cockney street market traders in East London, twenty years before East Enders recreated the format.
This portrait was completed for the Ben Yuri Gallery exhibition focusing on Jewish cultural figures. Bennett was a character actor in the classic sense, famous for his brooding eyes and cadaverous features, which Schwarz captures and gives him a certain proud but dejected air.

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