Ashcombe by Cecil Beaton
Ashcombe
Cecil Beaton

Sir Cecil Beaton CBE was a man for all seasons. His fashion and portrait photography set a benchmark that few have matched. He wrote well and his diaries are particularly memorable. He also designed beautiful dust jackets and was an Oscar-winning costume designer as well. Above all, he was never dull.

Beaton (1904-1980) had the quintessential English upper class education of Harrow and St Johnís College, Cambridge, but the pivotal moment of his life came when his nanny gave him an early Kodak camera.

His passion for photography eventually took him to Vogue magazine where his images helped to define the look and feel of the late 1920s and 1930s. Many of his fashion, society and celebrity images have become iconic. His style of photography featured stage management of a perfect scene that could be captured by the camera. His most famous subjects include Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy and Queen Elizabeth.

Cecil BeatonDuring World War II, Beaton worked for the Ministry of Information and took a famous photograph of a three-year-old girl sitting in a hospital bed holding a teddy bear after being injured in a German bombing raid. The image was widely seen in the U.S., still refusing to join the conflict at the time.

His stage, set and costume design work was varied. He won Academy awards for his costumes on the musicals Gigi and My Fair Lady, and four Tonys for his stage work.

Knighted in 1972, he was an avid diarist and published six volumes of diaries during his lifetime. As a man who met and photographed royalty, politicians, film stars, artists and the bright young things of five decades, his diaries make interesting reading. He was a shrewd and honest writer.

One of his best known books is Ashcombe, published in 1949, where he wrote about his beloved Wiltshire home. (Madonna and Guy Ritchie acquired it in 2001). Beaton only had a 15-year lease on the building and was devastated when he had to leave.

There are numerous biographies of Beaton and many collections of his photography. Hugo Vickersí biography of the photographer is worth a read.

Cecil Beaton Books

Life Magazine 23 Sept 1940 cover photo by Cecil Beaton
Life Magazine 23 Sept 1940
cover photo by Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beatonís New York by Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beatonís New York
by Cecil Beaton
The Glass of Fashion by Cecil Beaton
The Glass of Fashion
by Cecil Beaton
My Bolivian Aunt by Cecil Beaton
My Bolivian Aunt
by Cecil Beaton
Ballet by Cecil Beaton
Ballet
by Cecil Beaton
Fair Lady by Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton's Fair Lady
by Cecil Beaton
Far East by Cecil Beaton
Far East
by Cecil Beaton
An Indian Album by Cecil Beaton
An Indian Album
by Cecil Beaton
Japanese by Cecil Beaton
Japanese
by Cecil Beaton
Persona Grata by Cecil Beaton & Kenneth Tynan
Persona Grata
by Cecil Beaton & Kenneth Tynan
Quail in Aspic by Cecil Beaton
Quail in Aspic
by Cecil Beaton
Time Exposure by Cecil Beaton
Time Exposure
by Cecil Beaton
Near East by Cecil Beaton
Near East
by Cecil Beaton
The Best of Beaton by Cecil Beaton
The Best of Beaton
by Cecil Beaton
Photobiography by Cecil Beaton
Photobiography
by Cecil Beaton
The Book of Beauty by Cecil Beaton
The Book of Beauty
by Cecil Beaton
British Photographers by Cecil Beaton
British Photographers
by Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beatonís Scrapbook by Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beatonís Scrapbook
by Cecil Beaton
War Photographs 1939-45 by Cecil Beaton
War Photographs 1939-45
by Cecil Beaton

Books with Jackets Illustrated by Cecil Beaton

Wars I Have Seen by Gertrude Stein
Wars I Have Seen
by Gertrude Stein
The Loved and Envied by Enid Bagnold
The Loved and Envied
by Enid Bagnold
Cecil Beaton: The Royal Portraits edited by Roy Strong
Cecil Beaton: The Royal Portraits
edited by Roy Strong
The Evening Colonnade by Cyril Connolly
The Evening Colonnade
by Cyril Connolly
A Star Danced by Gertrude Lawrence
A Star Danced
by Gertrude Lawrence

Books about Cecil Beaton

Beaton in Vogue edited by Jacqueline Ross
Beaton in Vogue
edited by Jacqueline Ross
Greta and Cecil by Diana Souhami
Greta and Cecil
by Diana Souhami

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