Here’s 19 year old Jane Barry – later Jane Birkin – photographed by John d Green for Birds of Britain on 17 June 1966 at his Kensington studio. This photograph was not included in the original 1967 book, and is being published for the first time in The Big Book of Birds of Britain in 2017.
At the time the photographs as taken, Jane was married to the English composer John Barry, best known for writing the theme music to many James Bond films. She appeared briefly in the counterculture era film Blowup (1966) and as the fantasy-like model in the psychedelic film Wonderwall (1968).
That same year she auditioned in France for the lead female role in the film Slogan (1969). Though she did not speak French she won the role where she met Serge Gainsbourg and performed with him on the film’s theme song, the first of many collaborations from the pair. Perhaps their most famous was the song “Je t’aime… moi non plus” which caused scandal for it’s sexual explicitness and was banned by radio stations in Italy, Spain and the UK.
Birkin later appeared in the Agatha Christie films Death On The Nile (1978) and Evil Under The Sun (1982).
In 1984 Hermes chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas created a black supple leather bag, the Birkin bag, based on a 1982 design. Over the years, the bag has become a status symbol, with top examples fetching six figure sums.