BOOK REVIEW: CECIL BEATON AT HOME: AN INTERIOR LIFE

CECIL BEATON AT HOME: AN INTERIOR LIFE

By Andrew Ginger, Foreword by Hugo Vickers

Rizzoli New York
PRICE: £50.00
ISBN: 978-0-8478-4877-5
: © Cecil Beaton at Home: An Interior Life by Andrew Ginger, Rizzoli New York, 2016

: © Cecil Beaton at Home: An Interior Life by Andrew Ginger, Rizzoli New York, 2016

 

I was fortunate enough to meet the author Andrew Ginger at the two exhibitions he curated around the theme of ‘Cecil Beaton At Home’ at Salisbury Museum and Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler in 2014. They were excellent shows and it was remarkable to see objects and paintings from Beaton’s homes.

View of the dining room, Ashcombe 1935. The curtains were of an orange-and-yellow striped silk © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

View of the dining room, Ashcombe 1935. The curtains were of an orange-and-yellow striped silk
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Now thanks to Andrew’s continued enthusiasm and dedication to the fascinating subject of Cecil Beaton in his own homes we have this hugely enjoyable and well-researched book which is copiously illustrated bringing the houses, Beaton, his friends and loves to life.

The drawing room at 8 Pelham Place, 1962. Combining two rooms into one created a single salon of 31’ 1” by 15’ 2” © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

The drawing room at 8 Pelham Place, 1962. Combining two rooms into one created a single salon of 31’ 1” by 15’ 2”
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

The name Cecil Beaton is well-known to many for he was multi-talented – a celebrated photographer, costume and set designer, playwright and designer of fabrics – but he was also as this book amply proves a good interior decorator creating beautiful, striking rooms, whether in his homes or the New York hotel suites he decorated and was allowed to stay in at a discounted rate.

 

The and Winter Garden at Reddish House, painted left-handed by Cecil after his stroke, 1979 photograph by James McMillan, (copyright for CB artwork to National Portrait Gallery, London)

The and Winter Garden at Reddish House, painted left-handed by Cecil after his stroke, 1979
photograph by James McMillan, (copyright for CB artwork to National Portrait Gallery, London)

The book rightly focuses on Beaton’s two Wiltshire homes – Ashcombe House and Reddish House – with their remarkable and sometimes eccentric interiors which I would so loved to have seen but thanks to this book I at least can enjoy them, especially that beautiful Edwardian-influenced drawing room at Reddish.

The drawing room at Reddish House, painted by Cecil Beaton, Christmas 1955 photograph by James McMillan, collection of Stiles Tuttle Colwill

The drawing room at Reddish House, painted by Cecil Beaton, Christmas 1955
photograph by James McMillan, collection of Stiles Tuttle Colwill

There have been many marvellous books on Cecil Beaton but to me this book is the best as I believe people’s homes reveal them and Beaton certainly comes to life through the pages of this book. Wonderful!

The last portrait of Cecil, looking through his last fashion spread for Vogue in the library at Reddish House, September 4, 1979 copyright Lee Higham, Assistant, 1979

The last portrait of Cecil, looking through his last fashion spread for Vogue in the library at Reddish House, September 4, 1979
copyright Lee Higham, Assistant, 1979

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