Bill Naughton, Alfie

MacGibbon & Kee, London 1966.
First edition. Jacket photography: C. O’Brien.

Michael Caine’s charismatic performance in the 1966 cult movie ‘Alfie’, has made him synonymous with this novel’s main character. Told entirely in the first person by Alfie himself, the book reveals Alfie’s thoughts and attitude to life at the height of the swinging sixties. Alfie is a charming but shamelessly cynical womanizer. That said, he is not a bad guy, it’s just that he has this overwhelming desire for the ladies. A great character, but the kind you love to hate. The genius of Naughton’s book is that it actually makes you feel empathy for this unscrupulous rogue.


Colin O’Brien – photographer

The iconic black and white photograph used on this dust jacket was taken in 1966 by leading British photographer, Colin O’Brien. As a close childhood friend of the author, Bill Naughton, Colin has a great personal attachment to this particular book. In this photo, Colin is being presented with an original oil painting of the book.

Colin Obrien IMG_1412


Colin explained the story behind the photograph…

“1966 Bill Naughton asked me to take his portrait and a photograph of Battersea Power Station for the first hardback edition of ‘Alfie,’ which proved to be his most successful novel and was made into a film starring Michael Caine. I took a picture of a power station from a train while the sun was sinking down behind the chimneys and I received fifteen pounds which was a lot of money then. Only later did I discover that the power station I photographed was not Battersea, as I had thought, but Fulham!”


For more about Colin and his latest best-selling book, ‘London Life’ (published by Spitalfields Life Books, 2015) go to: