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Sir Cecil Beaton CBE (1904-1980)

Sir Cecil Beaton, CBE (1904-1980)

Photographer, artist, designer and socialite, Cecil Beaton was born in Hampstead, London, on 14 January 1904, into the family of a wealthy merchant. Whilst at Harrow School, he developed a passion for both photography and social advancement which, combined with his natural talent for aesthetics, subsequently propelled him to the heights of fame.

As a prominent member of the ‘Bright Young People’ during the 1920s – a set he had purposefully adopted – Beaton photographed a generation of glitzy young socialites and artists with unique style. His sparkling photographs provide a fascinating record of this enduringly popular group, but his ambition was not satisfied. In the late 1920s, he headed for Hollywood and New York, working for Condé Nast as a portrait and fashion photographer, and quickly created a formidable reputation, and an international demand for his work.

After the Second World War, during which he worked as a photographer for the Ministry of Information, Beaton continued as before, albeit altering his style to fit with changing times. He also earned acclaim for his costume designs, winning Oscars for '
Gigi' in 1957 and 'My Fair Lady' in 1964.

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