For The Library: Cecil Beaton

Born in 1904 and living until 1980, Beaton was a famous British photographer, artist, writer, stage and screen designer, and high-society figure who epitomized style and didn’t avoid naming it when he saw it or screaming when he didn’t.

The first volume of his published diaries, The Unexpurgated Beaton [BKL O 15 03], covered the last two decades of his life.

Beaton in the Sixities, gives one a chance to see what he had to say about the people occupying his life in the last half of the swinging sixties. Gossip is flung, but, as in the first volume, that’s the fun of it. Beaton was humorous (in conversation with Chanel, “She did not really show much sign of judging whether I was present or not”), and he was also incisive about character (on Garbo, “One sees that those endless days and evenings doing nothing have resulted in negation”). Juiciness aside, the volumes will come to be considered an important social document of British life in the twentieth century.

In the course of his decades-long career as a photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair, as well as a British war correspondent, Beaton helped invent the cult of the celebrity image. In these pages, reproduced here for the first time, you enter a fabulous and surreal party where Tallulah Bankhead rubs shoulders with a bust of Voltaire and a portrait of Stravinsky, and where Beaton’s first trip on the Queen Mary coincides with Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

gather up your copies at: amazon


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