Name: Cecil Beaton
birth place: London England
birth date: 14 January 1904
zodiac sign: Capricorn
death place: Wiltshire England
death date: 18 January 1980
Profile of Cecil Beaton
Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton CBE (14 January 1904 – 18 January 1980) was an English fashion, portrait and war photographer, diarist, painter, interior designer and an Oscar–winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre.
When Beaton was growing up his nanny had a Kodak 3A Camera, a popular model which was renowned for being an ideal piece of equipment to learn on. Beaton's nanny began teaching him the basics of photography and developing film. He would often get his sisters and mother to sit for him. When he was sufficiently proficient, he would send the photos off to London society magazines, often writing under a pen name and ‘recommending’ the work of Beaton.
Beaton attended Harrow School, and then, despite having little or no interest in academia, moved on to St John's College, Cambridge, and studied history, art and architecture. Beaton continued his photography, and through his university contacts managed to get a portrait depicting the Duchess of Malfi published in Vogue. It was actually George "Dadie" Rylands – "a slightly out-of-focus snapshot of him as Webster's Duchess of Malfi standing in the sub-aqueous light outside the men's lavatory of the ADC Theatre at Cambridge."
Since 1927, Cecil Beaton started to work for American Vogue regularly and he is known for his fashion photographs and society portraits. Besides working as staff photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair he also photographed celebrities in Hollywood.
In the 1930s, Cecil Beaton returned to England, where he became leading war photographer with the recommendation of the Queen, and also the photographer of the royal family on many occasions, including Duke and duchess of Windsor's wedding.
After the war, Beaton tackled the Broadway stage, designing sets, costumes, and lighting for a 1946 revival of Lady Windermere's Fan, in which he also acted.
His costumes for Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady (1956) were highly praised. This led to two Lerner and Loewe film musicals, Gigi (1958) and My Fair Lady (1964), each of which earned Beaton the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. He also designed the period costumes for the 1970 film On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.
Cecil Beaton was knighted in the 1972 New Year Honours.
Two years later he suffered a stroke that would leave him permanently paralysed on the right side of his body. Although he learnt to write and draw with his left hand, and had cameras adapted, Beaton became frustrated by the limitations the stroke had put upon his work. As a result of his stroke, Beaton became anxious about financial security for his old age and, in 1976, entered into negotiations with Philippe Garner, expert-in-charge of photographs at Sotheby's. On behalf of the auction house, Garner acquired Beaton's archive—excluding all portraits of the Royal Family, and the five decades of prints held by Vogue in London, Paris and New York. Garner, who had almost singlehandedly invented the photographic auction, oversaw the archive's preservation and partial dispersal, so that Beaton's only tangible assets, and what he considered his life's work, would ensure him an annual income. The first of five auctions was held in 1977, the last in 1980.
By the end of the 1970s, Beaton's health had faded. He died on 18 January 1980, at Reddish House, his home in Broad Chalke, Wiltshire, four days after his 76th birthday