TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

Loading
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
     
     
  History of photography

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CONTENTS
  BACK NEXT   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
History of photography
 
 
 
Cecil Beaton   1 - 2
 

Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton (14 January 1904 – 18 January 1980) was an English fashion and portrait photographer and an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre.
Beaton was born in Hampstead the son of Ernest Beaton and his wife Etty Sissons. His grandfather had founded the family business of Beaton Brothers Timber Merchants and Agents, and his father followed into the business. Ernest Beaton was also an amateur actor and had met his wife, Cecil's mother, when playing the lead in a play. Cecil Beaton was educated at Heath Mount School and St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne, where his artistic talent was quickly recognised. Both Cyril Connolly and Henry Longhurst report in their autobiographies being overwhelmed by the beauty of Beaton's singing at the St Cyprian's school concerts. When Beaton was growing up his Nanny had a Kodak 3A Camera, a popular model which was renowned for being an ideal piece of equipment to learn on. Beaton's nanny began teaching him the basics of photography and developing them in his basement. He would often get his sisters and mother to sit for him. When he was sufficiently proficient, he would send the photos off to London society magazines, often writing under a pen name and ‘recommending’ the work of Beaton.
Beaton went on to Harrow, and then, despite having little or no interest in academia, moved on to St John's College, Cambridge, and studied history, art and architecture. Beaton continued his photography, and through his university contacts managed to get a portrait sitting with the Duchess of Amalfi — actually George "Dadie" Rylands, and as Beaton recalled years later: "It was a slightly out-of-focus snapshot of him as Webster's Duchess of Malfi standing in the sub-aqueous light outside the men's lavatory of the ADC Theatre at Cambridge." The resulting images gave Beaton his first ever piece of published work when Vogue magazine bought and printed the photos.
Beaton left Cambridge without a degree in 1925, but only coped with salaried employment in his father's timber business for eight days.
Beaton designed book jackets and costumes for charity matinees, learning the professional craft of photography at the studio of Paul Tanqueray, until Vogue took him on regularly in 1927. He also set up his own studio, and one of his earliest clients and, later, best friends was Stephen Tennant; Beaton's photographs of Tennant and his circle are considered some of the best representations of the "Bright Young Things" of the twenties and thirties.
He was a photographer for the British edition of Vogue in 1931 when George Hoyningen-Huene, photographer for the French Vogue traveled to England with his new friend Horst. Horst himself would begin to work for French Vogue in November of that year. The exchange and cross pollination of ideas between this collegial circle of artists across the Channel and the Atlantic gave rise to the look of style and sophistication for which the 1930s are known.
Beaton is best known for his fashion photographs and society portraits. He worked as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue in addition to photographing celebrities in Hollywood.Beaton's first camera was a Kodak 3A folding camera. Over the course of his career, he employed both large format cameras, and smaller Rolleiflex cameras. Beaton was never known as a highly skilled technical photographer, and instead focused on staging a compelling model or scene and looking for the perfect shutter-release moment.
Beaton often photographed the Royal Family for official publication. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was his favourite Royal sitter, and he once pocketed her scented hankie as a keepsake from a highly successful shoot. Beaton took the famous wedding pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (wearing an ensemble by the noted fashion designer Mainbocher).
During the Second World War, Beaton was initially posted to the Ministry of Information and given the task of recording images from the home front. During this assignment he captured one of the most enduring images of British suffering during the war, that of three-year-old Blitz victim Eileen Dunne recovering in hospital, clutching her beloved teddy bear. When the image was published, America had not yet officially joined the war — but splashed across the press in the USA, images such as Beaton’s helped push the American public to put pressure on their Government to help Britain in its hour of need.
Beaton had a major influence on and relationship with two other leading lights in British photography, that of Angus McBean and David Bailey. McBean was arguably the best portrait photographer of his era — in the second part of McBeans career (post war) his work is clearly heavily influenced by Beaton, though arguably McBean was technically far more proficient in his execution. Bailey was also enormously influenced by Beaton when they met whilst working for British Vogue in the early 1960s, Bailey's stark use of square format (6x6) images bears clear connections to Beaton's own working patterns.
After the war, Beaton tackled the Broadway stage, designing sets, costumes, and lighting for a 1946 revival of Lady Windermere's Fan, in which he also acted.
His most lauded achievement for the stage was the sets and costumes for Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady (1956), which led to two Lerner and Loewe film musicals, Gigi (1958) and My Fair Lady (1964), both of which earned Beaton the Academy Award for Costume Design. He also designed the period costumes for the 1970 film On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.
Additional Broadway credits include The Grass Harp (1952), The Chalk Garden (1955), Saratoga (1959), Tenderloin (1960), and Coco (1969). He is the winner of four Tony Awards.

In 1972, he was knighted. Two years later he suffered a stroke that would leave him permanently paralysed on the right side of his body. Although he learnt to write and draw with his left hand, and had cameras adapted, Beaton became frustrated by the new limitations the stroke had put upon his work. As a result of his stroke, Beaton became anxious about financial security for his old age and, in 1976, entered into negotiations with Philippe Garner, expert-in-charge of photographs at Sotheby's. On behalf of the auction house, Garner acquired Beaton's archive — excluding all portraits of the Royal Family, and the five decades of prints held by Vogue in London, Paris and New York. Garner, who had almost singlehandedly invented the photographic auction, oversaw the archive's preservation and partial dispersal, so that Beaton's only tangible assets, and what he considered his life's work, would ensure him an annual income. The first of five auctions was held in 1977, the last in 1980.
By the end of the 1970s, Beaton's health had faded to that of an old man. In January 1980, he died during the night at his grand home in Broad Chalke in Wiltshire.

Although the great love of his life was art collector Peter Watson, he did, however, have relationships with women, including the actress Greta Garbo and the British socialite Doris, Viscountess Castlerosse. His heterosexual virginity was taken by the American socialite Marjorie Oelrichs. Beaton also claimed to have had an affair with the American actor Gary Cooper, who was a close friend of his for many years.

 
 
 

Self-portrait, c.1930


Marlene Dietrich, 1932



Marlene Dietrich


The Wyndham Sisters


Charles James Dresses, Paris, 1948


Paula Gellibrand, The Marquesa de Casa Maury,1928


A symphony in silver by Cecil Beaton, 1925


Marlene Dietrich


Marlon Brando


Marlon Brando


Marlon Brando



Marlon Brando



Twiggy at 8 Pelham Place


Queen Elizabeth II at her Coronation, 1953


Baba Beaton, c.1920


Twiggy (Foale and Tuffin Fashion), 1966


Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace wearing the Order of the Garter, 1953


Miss Nancy Beaton as a Shooting Star, 1928


Princess Elizabeth as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, 1942


Coronation Portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, 1953


The Queen with Prince Andrew, March 1960


Greta Garbo


Sugar Ray Robinson


Eileen Dunne


Untitled



Barbra Streisand


Barbra Streisand



Barbra Streisand

 
 
 
Marilyn Monroe
 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
CONTENTS
  BACK NEXT