by Cecil Beaton
bromide print, 1936
9 3/8 in. x 7 1/2 in. (237 mm x 191 mm)
Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and allocated to the Gallery, 1991
Artistback to top
- Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), Photographer, designer and writer. Artist associated with 1112 portraits, Sitter associated with 361 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 100 Fashion Icons, p. 27 Read entry
Elsa Schiaparelli was a leading fashion designer in the interwar period. In 1924, she established her fashion house in Paris, taking a unique approach to traditional fabrics. She described her profession as an art form, with Surrealism a main influence. Her fashion house expanded to London in 1933 and one of her frequent collaborators was society photographer Cecil Beaton (1904–80). In this photograph, Schiaparelli wears one of her 1931 haute couture creations: a white feather cape worn over a silk crêpe gown with trompe l’oeil pleats painted by artist Jean Dunand (1877–1942), complementing Beaton’s starprinted backdrop.
Events of 1936back to top
Current affairsFollowing the death of his father George V, Edward succeeds to the throne as King Edward VIII, but chooses to abdicate in order to marry the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. Edward was the only monarch every to voluntarily relinquish the throne.
Art and scienceThe Spitfire, designed by Reginald Mitchell, has its maiden flight. The RAF and other allied forces used the plane extensively and to great effect during the Second World War.
Television broadcasting begins. Although the BBC had been transmitting television since 1930, regular service did not begin until 1936, when the 'BBC Television Service' (now BBC One) was broadcast from Alexandra Palace.
InternationalThe Spanish Civil War begins. Nationalists, led by General Francisco Franco, and supported by Italian and German fascist governments, rebelled against the Second Spanish Republic. The conflict lasted until 1939, and anticipated many of the features of the Second World War: fighting between Communists and Fascists, the rise of nationalism and the use of terror tactics against civilians.
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