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Blackstone Edge Studios Presents “I Vow To Thee My Country” in Images and Voice on YouTube

Orthochromatic negative produced on a glass plate c. 1972

While living in London in the early 70s, I was awoken on a misty morning in my small bedsit in Swiss Cottage by the sound of caissons rolling and hooves clippity clopping on the damp tarmac. For a moment, I thought I was living in the past when troopers regularly rode off to the front on chilly mornings in 1914, on the eve of World War I. In fact, I was working around London for some of the great photographers of the day. I’d just landed a job in an ad agency, but I wanted to do something a little different than photographing cat and dog meat for clients. I wanted to tell a whole story in photos, capturing the preparation for the celebration of the Queen’s Birthday on June 2, 1972.

Royal Horse Artillery Barracks in St. Johns Wood © Philip Clayton-Thompson 1972

I later immigrated to the United States, where I became one of the most prolific interior design photographers over the last 20 years. I had been storing these 8×10 B&W prints for the past 40 years, and when it came time for to me sing this anthem – “I Vow To Thee My Country” with music by Gustav Holst; poem by Cecil Spring-Rice – it called out to be illustrated by these images I took so long ago. Thus, it is with great pleasure that I share this historical moment through my photography and voice.

Marble Arch opened on June 2nd for the Queen's Birthday © Philip Clayton-Thompson 1972

A limited edition poster that includes most of these images is available through

Watch the YouTube Video to see all the vintage images, hear me sing this moving anthem and to view the poster. There is also a link available on

1 comment

1 Kathia Emery { 10.12.11 at 9:54 pm }

Philip–I knew you could sing, but this really gave me goosebumps. Loved the anthem and the wonderful photos.

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