This is the photograph that was published in John d Green’s Birds of Britain book in September 1967.
Anne Sibylla Edmonstone, a very beautiful aristocrat, usually went by her middle name, Sibylla. She was the grand-daughter of Marshall Field, the American entrepreneur and founder of a chain of department stores in Chicago. Sadly she is no longer with us – she died in 1986.
Sibylla’s nightclub, the location for this photograph, was named after her. A glittering list of the great and the good in London’s social scene attended the launch party for the nightclub on Wednesday 22 June 1966. The guest list was originally published in Queen Magazine in 1966. “A more glittering line up of guests could hardly be imagined,” said Cathy McGowan.
Although Sibylla was not herself on the guest list for the party, John d Green was there, along with his friends David Tree, Rowland Wells and Terry Howard (who was a director the nightclub). These four friends first discussed the Birds of Britain project in early 1966 over a few beers at the Adam and Eve pub in Kensington. Many of the ladies who appeared in the book were on the guest list for Sibyllas launch party. By the time of the party, John had photographed nine subjects, and the party may well have provided him with some inspiration for others.
John photographed Sibylla Edmonstone a month after the launch party, on Friday 29 July 1966, at the nightclub, rather than at his Kensington studios – the location for the majority of the Birds of Britain sessions.
When it was time to choose a venue for the Birds of Britain launch party in September 1967 there was really only one place it could be.
There is a fascinating background article on the nightclub, along with a list of attendees at the opening night, here