Cecil Beaton

Born in London in 1904, Cecil Beaton's first photographs were of his sisters styled in theatrical decadent costumes. His unique flair for elegance and fantasy lead him to become one of the most successful and influential portrait and fashion photographers of the 20th century. Baron Adolf de Meyer and Edward Steichen were sources of inspiration for him, but he developed a style all his own. He worked for Vogue for over twenty-five years and also became official court photographer to the Royal family in 1937. A constant innovator, Beaton worked for five decades photographing some of the most captivating figures of his time, from Edith Sitwell to the Rolling Stones, Greta Garbo, Jean Cocteau, and Marilyn Monroe. Beaton died in 1980 at the age of 76.


Beaton born in Hampstead the son of Ernest Beaton, a prosperous timber merchant, and his wife Etty Sissons.

Attends St John's College where he studied history, art and architecture.

Sets up own successful photography studio in London.

Moves to New York City for his first exhibition was in (January 1929).

Hired by Vogue as contributing photographer.

Appointed Royal Court photographer.

Beaton's photograph Eileen Dunn in the Hospital for Sick Children, London (1940), a photograph of a child whose head is bandaged appeared on the cover of Life magazine and helped build support in the United States for the British war effort.

During the Second World War Beaton was initially posted to the Ministry of Information and given the task of recording images from the home front. 1942 Beaton was loaned to the Air Ministry for three months to photograph the Middle East, and "The Near East" came out of this in 1943.

Wins an oscar for costume design for Gigi.

Wins an Oscar for costumes costume design and art direction for My Fair Lady.

Beaton receives the knighthood.

Beaton dies at the age of 76.

Cecil Beaton

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