Closed

1.7 – 15.9 2020

Cecil Beaton:Vintage Works

Cecil Beaton:Vintage Works

01.07 – 15.09.2020

Closed

Hours

Monday to Saturday

10:00 am – 5:30 pm

Gallery

3-5 Swallow Street,
London, W1B 4DE

An exhibition of vintage photographs by Cecil Beaton tracing his career from his early works in the 1920s through to the 1960s.

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Exhibition View. Cecil Beaton at Huxley-Parlour Gallery

As a prominent member of the ‘Bright Young Things’ in London during the 1920s, Beaton was uniquely placed to photograph a generation of young socialites, avant-garde artists and writers. Stylish and experimental, his bold use of pattern, line and texture reflects the extravagance of the era and the high-spirited characters of the ‘Bright Young Things’.

His photographs provide an insight into this enduringly intriguing group, and both the public and private images they fashioned for themselves. Portraits include early photographs of his mother and his two sisters, Baba and Nancy, in theatrical costumes, alongside society figures such as poet and critic Edith Sitwell, as well as actresses Talullah Bankhead and Anna May Wong.

Beaton quickly became known for his theatrical use of elaborate props, costumes, and hand painted backdrops. He was celebrated for his ability to deftly reference the history of art, as well as the subtle use of motifs borrowed from emerging European Surrealism. Portraits of artists and designers in the exhibition include Salvador Dali, Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel.

Beaton’s career as an internationally renowned fashion photographer evolved naturally from his work as a society portraitist, and flourished under the patronage of Vogue, first in London and Paris, and by 1929, New York. A number of works in the exhibition demonstrate his innovative and distinctive fashion photography, and were produced during his time working for American Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

The Exhibition

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  • 1

    © Huxley-Parlour Gallery

  • 2

    © Huxley-Parlour Gallery

  • 3

    © Huxley-Parlour Gallery

The Works

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1

Cecil Beaton

Anna May Wong

1930

Silver gelatin print, mounted on card, printed 1970s

2

Cecil Beaton

Edith Sitwell

1926

Silver gelatin print, mounted on card, printed c. 1927

3

Cecil Beaton

Zita and Teresa Jungman

1927

Silver gelatin print, mounted on card, printed 1920s

4

Cecil Beaton

Marianna Van Rensselaer In Charles James Hat

1930

Silver gelatin print, mounted on card, printed 1970s

5

Cecil Beaton

Georgia Sitwell, Renishaw

1930

Silver gelatin print, printed later

6

Cecil Beaton

Models wearing Schiaparelli Desk Suit, ‘Vogue’

1936

Silver gelatin print, mounted on board, printed before 1945

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Cecil Beaton

Karen Morely

1932

Silver gelatin print, printed later

8

Cecil Beaton

Meraud Guinness

1930s

Silver gelatin print, mounted on card, printed 1930s

9

Cecil Beaton

Merle Oberon

1930s

Silver gelatin print, printed before 1945, mounted on board

10

Cecil Beaton

Dame Edith Sitwell At Tea

1930

Silver gelatin print, printed later

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Cecil Beaton

Merle Oberon

1934

Silver gelatin print, printed later

12

Cecil Beaton

Lady Pembroke

1930s

Silver gelatin print, printed 1930s

13

Cecil Beaton

Johnny Weissmuller

1932

Silver gelatin print, printed 1970s

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Cecil Beaton

Gary Cooper

1931

Silver gelatin print, printed 1970s

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Cecil Beaton

Merle Oberon as Antonita

1934

Silver gelatin print, printed 1970s

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Cecil Beaton

Lady Jersey

1935

Silver gelatin print, mounted on board, printed c.1935

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Cecil Beaton

Mrs Mona Williams

1936

Silver gelatin print, printed c.1936

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Cecil Beaton

Schiaparelli Model, Paris

c.1936

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Cecil Beaton

Mary Oakes and Mary Gosgrave for ‘Vogue’

1936

Silver gelatin print, printed c. 1936

20

Cecil Beaton

Vicomtesse De Noailles At The Ruins Of The Paris Exposition

1938

Silver gelatin print, printed later

21

Cecil Beaton

Jean Patchett Against Cutout Backdrop, For ‘Vogue’

1949

Silver gelatin print, printed 1949

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Cecil Beaton

Carmen Dell’Orefice With Cutout Backdrop, For ‘Vogue’

1949

Silver gelatin print, printed 1949

23

Cecil Beaton

Guests At Carlos De Bestegui’s Ball

1951

Silver gelatin print, printed c.1951

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Cecil Beaton

Nancy James Modelling One Of Her Husband’s Creations

1955

Silver gelatin print, printed c.1955

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Cecil Beaton

Corinne Griffith

1930

Silver gelatin print, mounted on card, printed 1930s

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Cecil Beaton

The Countess of Pembroke

c. 1935

Silver gelatin print, printed c. 1935

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Cecil Beaton

Margot Asquith, Lady Oxford, after Henry van der Weyde

1927

Silver gelatin print, mounted on board, printed 1920s

28

Cecil Beaton

Mrs Daisy Fellowes

c.1930s

Silver gelatin print, mounted on board, printed later

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Cecil Beaton

Lady Edwina Mountbatten

1927

Silver gelatin print, mounted on card, printed c. 1928

Cecil Beaton

B. Britain1904-1980

B. Britain1904-1980

Biography

Cecil Beaton was an influential photographer, illustrator, costume and set designer. Beaton is known for his elaborately decorated and intricate backdrops, which often nod towards Surrealism. A prominent member of the ‘Bright Young Things’, Beaton photographed a generation of glitzy young aristocrats and socialites including Edith Sitwell and Stephen Tennant. Throughout the decade, though, Beaton’s most frequent sitters were his two sisters, Nancy and Barbara, known as ‘Baba’. The sisters proved useful props for the young photographer, as he experimented with backdrops, materials and photographic techniques.

As a fashion photographer, Beaton worked for Vogue in London, Paris, and New York. Throughout the 1930s, he shot Hollywood film stars for Vanity Fair, revealing an increasing reliance on close-ups of the face, often strongly modelled by contrasting light and shade, and also the increasing incorporation of floral motifs. Beaton’s aesthetic remained highly artful if not so brazenly artificial. After photographing Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace in 1939, Beaton was invited to become the Royal photographer of choice. Finally, Beaton was appointed as an official photographer for the Ministry of Information in 1940. Beaton’s contributions as a stage designer to the films, Gigi (1958) and My Fair Lady (1964) gained him Oscars and made him a household name. 

Cecil Beaton was born in London in 1904. He was awarded a CBE in 1956. His work has been presented in major exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery, London; the Museum of the City of New York, USA; and the Imperial War Museum, London. 

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