7 of 361 portraits of Cecil Beaton
by Angus McBean
vintage bromide print, 1949
9 1/2 in. x 7 3/8 in. (241 mm x 188 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Sitter associated with 361 portraits, Artist associated with 1111 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Angus McBean (1904-1990), Photographer. Artist associated with 276 portraits, Sitter in 79 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Pepper, Terence, Angus McBean Portraits, 2006 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 July to 22 October 2006), p. 69 Read entry
Beaton and McBean were exact contemporaries but, although having much in common, existed in quite different theatrical worlds. Beaton admired McBean’s superior technical abilities, while Beaton excelled as a producer of all types of photography as well as being an Oscar-winning costume and set designer. Beaton, shown here handling his long-bladed scissors, was known for his charm, which was sometimes tempered with cutting remarks. Here he is surrounded by his recent books, including those from his wartime travels (Near East, Chinese Album and Far East), compiled while recording the war effort for the Ministry of Information. In the foreground is a photograph of himself acting on stage in the American production of Lady Windermere's Fan, which he also designed. Open in front of him is a book containing his Gainsborough-style photographs of the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret opposite a portrait of their mother, Queen Elizabeth, from 1939.
Events of 1949back to top
Current affairsFollowing the Republic of Ireland Act in 1948, the Irish Free State becomes the Republic of Ireland and leaves the Commonwealth. The functions previously given to the King were handed to the President of Ireland.
The Second Parliament Act diminishes the power of the House of Lords, reducing their authority to delay bills from two years to one.
Art and scienceGeorge Orwell publishes his dystopian novel, 1984. The book imagines a future where totalitarian governments rule; their power based on continual war abroad, and overwhelming propaganda and surveillance at home. With 'Big Brother' keeping a constant check on the citizens' actions and thoughts, the individual loses the faculties of free will and independent thought.
InternationalThe People's Republic of China is created after the Communist Party wins the Civil War. China became a communist country under Mao Zedong.
Cold War tensions increase as Germany is split into the democratic Federal Republic of Germany in the west (a union of the post-war British, French and American sectors), and the communist German Democratic Republic, in the east.
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