Allan Warren

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Allan Warren
Warren in 2012
Michael Allan Warren

(1948-10-26) 26 October 1948 (age 75)
OccupationPhotographer Edit this at Wikidata

Michael Allan Warren (born 26 October 1948) is an English portrait photographer and actor, primarily known for his portrait of British nobility, politicians, and celebrities. His subjects include Charles III, Constantine II, Cary Grant, Alec Douglas-Home, Sophia Loren, Louis Mountbatten and Laurence Olivier.

Early life and education[edit]

After growing up in post-war London with his mother, Warren attended Terry's Juveniles, a stage school based in the Drury Lane Theatre. It was during this period that he attended auditions through which he received several assignments. One such piece of work was as a child presenter in "The Five O'clock Club", which afforded him the opportunity to associate with individuals such as Marc Bolan (then performing as "Toby Tyler"), who would later employ Warren as his first manager.[2][3]


Warren started his photographic career at the age of 20, when he was acting in Alan Bennett's play Forty Years On with John Gielgud in the West End at the Apollo Theatre.[1] Around this time, Warren bought his first second-hand camera and began to take photographs of his fellow actors. His first major assignment was in 1969 when his friend Mickey Deans asked him to cover his wedding to Judy Garland, which marked the beginning of Warren's work as a professional photographer.[4]

After this decisive event, Warren embarked on his photography career, throughout which he took portraits of personalities including many actors, writers, musicians, politicians and members of the British royal family.[5][6] In the early 1980s Warren embarked on a quest to photograph all 30 British dukes.[7] Together with Angus Montagu, 12th Duke of Manchester he set up the Duke's Trust, a charity for children in need.[8][9][10] Warren has uploaded many pictures from his archive to Wikimedia Commons, and many of those images have been used on Wikipedia pages, including the page on Warren himself.[11]

And yet, there is a third art, the art of Allan Warren. Like every successful venture on this earth, it is the result of compromise or, in other words, the result of thought. Compromise is not necessarily pejorative, since it does not have to be between two evils, or even two different points of view. It may well be between two virtues of divergent character, which is the case here. The posed photograph may not have the vanity of the instant, seized in mid-air, in mid-sentence, in a flash, but it has perhaps even greater psychological insight, since here the subjects reveal not only what they are, but how they would like to be. Their faces make statements, but their expressions are translations of those statements in terms which the poser believes will be instantly understandable. Here, in these photographs, we see not only ourselves as we are, but as we see ourselves, as we wish to be considered, honest, tough, lovable, quizzical, reliable, irresistible, and even within the moderation imposed by our heeding, and our natural desire to conquer, callous, cruel, and delightfully wayward.

— Sir Peter Ustinov about Warren's style of photography in the introduction to Nobs & Nosh – Eating with the Beautiful People, 1974.

In the early 1990s, Warren embarked on writing plays. One of his works, The Lady of Phillimore Walk,[12] was directed by Frank Dunlop and critics went as far as comparing it to Sleuth, a thriller written by Anthony Shaffer. The cast of The Lady of Phillimore Walk consisted of Zena Walker and Philip Lowrie;[13] and saw productions in the United States.[14]

Warren invented the Hankybreathe, a handkerchief which allows the user to inhale air through a carbon filter at the mouth, to filter out the noxious effects of exhaust emissions. The invention, which is meant to be dabbed in eucalyptus oil, harks back to the nosegay and stems from Warren's experience with asthma in heavily polluted London.[15][16][17][18]


Media related to Photographs by Allan Warren at Wikimedia Commons


  • Nobs & Nosh – Eating with the Beautiful People, 1974
  • Confessions of a Society Photographer, 1976 (memoir)
  • The Dukes of Britain, 1986
  • The Lady of Phillimore Walk (play), 1991
  • Dukes, Queens and Other Stories, 1999
  • Strangers in the Buff, August 2007
  • Carpet Dwellers, October 2007
  • Nein Camp, December 2012
  • Stand By To Repel All Boarders, December 2014
  • The Lady of Phillimore Walk, 2015
  • The Matching Pair Part 1: No Good Deed, 2021
  • Double Act, 2022


  1. ^ a b Pride Life, No.03 Autumn 2008
  2. ^ Paytress, Mark (2006). Bolan: The Rise and Fall of a 20th Century Superstar. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84609-147-6.
  3. ^ The Hollywood Reporter, Vol. CCLI, No. 43 Friday, 2 June 1978
  4. ^ Joseph Cotto (25 November 2012). "Allan Warren captured history with his photos from royalty to artists to movie stars". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on 19 December 2012.
  5. ^ The Confessions of a Society Photographer – Allan Warren (Jupiter, London, 1976) ISBN 0-904041-68-9 ISBN 978-0-904041-68-2
  6. ^ Nobs & Nosh : Eating with the Beautiful People – Allan Warren (Leslie Frewin, London, 1974) ISBN 0-85632-100-1 ISBN 978-0-85632-100-9
  7. ^ The Spectator, 3 April 1999
  8. ^ Daily Express, 25 March 1988
  9. ^ Scriven, Marcus (2010). Splendour and Squalor: The Disgrace and Disintegration of Three Aristocratic Dynasties. Atlantic Books, Limited. ISBN 978-1-84354-125-7.
  10. ^ Washington Times November 2012
  11. ^ Grigas, Victor; Ha, Yoona (23 April 2015). "Celebrity photographer Allan Warren shares the big shots on Wikipedia". Diff. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  12. ^ "University of Glasgow". Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  13. ^ Allen Wright The Scotsman, 20 January.1992
  14. ^ "Francis Wilson Playhouse, Florida". Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  15. ^ "Inventor Tries to Clear the Air, One Car at a Time", Los Angeles Times, 16 August 1999
  16. ^ "The fume-fighting handkerchief that makes good scents", Evening Standard, 15 June 1998
  17. ^ Natasha Narayan "Handy 'Hanky' may ease smog effects", Time Out, 17–24 June 1999
  18. ^ "Inventor Tries to Clear the Air, One Car at a Time". Los Angeles Times. 16 August 1999.