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Cecil Beaton - Muses & The Beau Monde

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

Portrait of Cecil Beaton, about 1924,

Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton CBE, born 14 January 1904, was an English fashion, portrait and war photographer, diarist, painter, and interior designer, and an Oscar–winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre.

"We used to say that inside Cecil Beaton there was another sending out lot's of little Cecil's into the world. One did the sets, another did the costumes. A third took the photographs. Another put the sketches in an exhibition, then into magazines, then in a book."

- Alan Jay Lerner

A brilliant documentary covering his life and work named 'Love, Cecil' will be featured on Sundays Picture Palace post. I highly recommend watching it as it is wonderfully done and describes Cecil and his work in a affectionate way.

In this article I will feature some of my favourite work of his and reading recommendations.


"All I want is the best of everything and there's very little of that left."

- Cecil Beaton

Self Portraits

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the common place, the slaves of the ordinary."

- Cecil Beaton

Portrait Photography

"The truly fashionable are beyond fashion."

- Cecil Beaton

Click the arrows to flip through Cecil's sketchbook

"I can't afford a new set of enemies."

- Cecil Beaton

War Photography

"I have the worst ear for criticism; even when I have created a stage set I like, I always hear the woman in the back of the dress circle who says she doesn't like blue."

- Cecil Beaton

A small collection of Cecil Beaton's art and Theatre designs


Reading Recommendations & Content Considerations

Set of six

Cecil Beaton Edited by Hugo Vickers


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