Alexandra Bastedo was twenty years old when John d Green photographed her for Birds of Britain in his Kensington studios on 9 September 1966. It was a short session, but produced a set of mesmerising images. The best of the bunch, frame 50, shown above, was selected for inclusion in the original book.

John had an unfailing eye for selecting the best image from a session, and his ability to visualise crops/rotations that would enhance an image are second to none. Later in this article you can see an extract from one of John’s original contact sheets from the session, and you will be able to see how John was able to improve the original full frame image by judicious cropping and rotation.

Alexandra Bastedo was best known for her role as secret agent Sharron Macready, a recently widowed scientist and doctor, in the 1968 espionage/science fiction adventure series The Champions. The series features Craig Stirling, Sharron Macready and Richard Barrett as agents for a United Nations law enforcement organization called “Nemesis”, based in Geneva.

She was born in Hove, on England’s south coast. Her mother was of French, German and Italian descent and her Canadian-born father was of Spanish, Dutch, Scottish and native Indian extraction. Her multilingual skills led her to work as a translator at 10 Downing Street and landed her the role of co-presenter of the Miss World competitions in the 1980s.

In 1988, the photograph of Alexandra with a rose on her shoulder was used on the front cover of Rank, a live album by The Smiths that charted at number 2 on the British Album charts.

In 1992 she appeared in “Fat”, the second ever episode of Absolutely Fabulous and in 2008 she joined the cast of Eastenders. 

Alexandra Bastedo died of cancer in 2014.

View the complete collection of limited edition photographs
Photographs
Read about the upcoming Big Book of Birds of Britain
The Big Book
An extract from the original contact sheet, showing the selected frame complete with chinagraph pencil markings.