Sheila Rock’s music photography celebrated in Barbican Library exhibition

Sheila Rock’s iconic portraits of leading musicians – from Sir Simon Rattle to Siouxsie Sioux – feature in a free exhibition at Barbican Music Library.

Picture This, which runs from 26 April to 4 July, includes a wide range of her vintage prints, including examples of her work for album and vinyl 12” record releases, most notably, the shot of Debbie Harry which was used in 1978 for the ‘Denis’ 12” by Blondie.

Based in London since 1970, Rock was introduced to the world of music photography by her ex-husband, Mick Rock, also a well-known rock photographer, and became known as a highly influential photographer during the punk and post-punk scene. Later, she helped shape the look of creative magazines, such as The Face.

Rock, who accompanied David Bowie on his American tour during his Ziggy Stardust period, will also include images of legendary Irish rock band, U2, and celebrated pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim, in the exhibition.

Sheila Rock said:

“People say that, as a photographer, I have a sensitive eye, an ability to draw out and capture the deepest essence and transcendental nature of my subjects - whether they are human, flora or fauna. I am hugely grateful to the team at Barbican Music Library for their work on the show and am looking forward to its 10-week run.”

Curator Michael Southwell, Principal Library Assistant at Barbican Music Library, said:

Having admired Sheila’s artistry for as long as I can remember, it has been a privilege to curate this exhibition, which is already creating a buzz on social media. It is important work and it will certainly bring back vivid memories of key moments in music over the last four decades.”

A collaboration between Sheila Rock and Barbican Music Library, the exhibition will run from 26 April to 4 July. The City of London Corporation, which owns and funds Barbican Music Library, invests £80m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds. It is the UK’s largest funder of culture after the government, the BBC, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Notes for Editors:

Curator Michael Southwell, Principal Library Assistant at Barbican Music Library, is available for media interviews. Please contact Andrew Buckingham (see below) for further details. 

Images from the exhibition are available on request from Andrew Buckingham.

Sheila Rock will take part in a book signing event at Barbican Music Library on Wednesday 31 May from 12.30pm – 1.30pm.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 1452 / Mobile: 07795 333060 / Email


Barbican Music Library, which is free to join, is one of the most significant public music col­lections in the country, with over 15,000 CDs and DVDs covering a range of different musi­cal styles. It also boasts a stock of nearly 16,000 music scores and an extensive collection of books about music and musicians; and over 70 periodicals covering different aspects of music and recording, with selected back issues available for reference. Six listening booths are provided, in which recordings from the lending collection can be listened to free of charge. Two digital pianos are available free of charge for practice purposes.


The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

• We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills projects. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust makes grants of around £20 million annually to charitable projects across London and we also support education with three independent schools, three City Academies, a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

• We also help look after key London’s heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London.

• We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies all reflecting a long-term approach.

See for more details.