Cecil Beaton Photographs the Queen Consort in 1938

Cecil Beaton was renowned for his theatrical portraits. A multi-talented artist, he sought to control every element of his photographs, from the design of curtains to the intricately painted backdrops – the world in which he photographed was a constructed one. In 1938, the relatively young photographer was summoned to capture his most prestigious client to date, Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI. Well known as a social climber, Beaton jumped at the opportunity to be commissioned by royalty, certifying his status as a master portrait photographer. For the shoot, Beaton created the illusion of a grand palace in his studio by painting a balcony onto a backdrop and draping luxurious fabrics.

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