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Cecil Beaton

(1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer

Sitter associated with 354 portraits
Artist associated with 1086 portraits
Cecil Beaton was one of the leading British photographers of the twentieth century. Beaton's early studio portraits of debutantes and celebrities often involved elaborate theatrical backdrops, and helped define the image of the 'Bright young thing'. Beaton was also an acclaimed designer for film and the stage, including My Fair Lady (1956), the musical based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. He won three Oscars for costume and art direction for the film version of My Fair Lady (1965) and for Gigi (1958). A major retrospective of Beaton's portraits in 1968 was the first exhibition the National Portrait Gallery had devoted to a photographer.

Watch a film clip on the photographer from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P352

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print, 1920s
NPG P352

Sir William Turner Walton, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P55

Sir William Turner Walton

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 1926

Edith Sitwell, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P868

Edith Sitwell

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print, December 1926
NPG P868

Cecil Beaton, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P219

Cecil Beaton

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 1927
NPG P219

Sylvia Townsend Warner, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P182

Sylvia Townsend Warner

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 1930
NPG P182

Sylvia Townsend Warner, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P183

Sylvia Townsend Warner

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 1930
NPG P183

W.H. Auden, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P869(3)

W.H. Auden

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print on white card mount, 1930
NPG P869(3)

Edith Sitwell, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P867

Edith Sitwell

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print, 1930
NPG P867

Elisabeth Bergner, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P1041

Elisabeth Bergner

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print on card mount, 1934
NPG P1041

Chateau Cande, France, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P262

Chateau Cande, France

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 1936
NPG P262

Aldous Huxley, by Cecil Beaton - NPG P869(17)

Aldous Huxley

by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print on white card mount, 1936
NPG P869(17)


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