7 of 66 portraits of T.S. Eliot
by Cecil Beaton
vintage bromide print on white card mount, July 1956
9 3/8 in. x 9 5/8 in. (239 mm x 243 mm)
Given by Cecil Beaton, 1968
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Artistback to top
- Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1087 portraits, Sitter associated with 353 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Whilst studying at Cambridge University, Cecil Beaton had attended a talk given by Eliot but he did not photograph him until twenty years later. In his diaries, Beaton claimed that Eliot initially refused to be photographed because he was unsure which type of collar would be suitable: 'a soft one would look untidy and Bohemian, and yet he could not bring himself to be perpetuated in a starched one.' After consenting to the sitting Eliot later wrote to Beaton to praise the 'astonishingly successful effect' he had achieved. A variant pose from the sitting was included in Beaton's book, The Face of the World (1957).
Linked publicationsback to top
Events of 1956back to top
Current affairsThe first supermarket opens in Britain. Inspired by the new innovation in America, Jack Cohen opened his first Tesco supermarket in Essex. The First Clean Air Act is passed in response to the 'Pea Soup' smog over London.
Art and sciencePop Art is seen for the first time in the This is Tomorrow exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. The exhibition included Richard Hamilton's iconic collage: What is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger opens at the Royal Court Theatre, introducing the phrase 'Angry young man' to describe the new movement of gritty, post-war realism in literature.
InternationalThe Suiz Crisis rocked Eden's premiership and marked the decline of British world power and influence in favour of America. In 1956 President Nasser of Egypt nationalised the Suez canal. Although Britain and France, who had owned the canal since the 19th century, invaded Egypt, they were soon persuaded to withdraw by US President Eisenhower who disapproved of the occupation.
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