Cecil Beaton(1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer
Sitter associated with 361 portraits
Artist associated with 1112 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.
More on Beaton: Cecil Beaton's Bright Young Things
View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.
Artist and sitter interviews
Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.
Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.
- Cecil Beaton Drawings
- Learn more
- Handlist of names in the Reference Collection
- Photographic holdings - print and negative collections
- In Close Up: Laurence Olivier
- Women Poets and Photography, 1860–1970
- Centenaries and Centenarians
- Britain 1960-1990
- The Royal Ballet at 75
- The World's Most Photographed
- Bill Brandt: Portraits 1982
- Self image: basic materials and techniques (4)
- Interviews with artists and sitters