Vintage Beaton!

Cecil Beaton, Beetles+Huxley, 3-5 Swallow Street, London W1, until 20th May 2017

Mrs Harrison Williams, Later Mona Countess of Bismark, c. 1935
(c) Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Archive. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley

It would be remiss of me not to bring this exhibition of more than eighty Cecil Beaton photographs to your attention.  They cover the early part of his career from the 1920s to the 1940s.  Originally purchased in the early 50s these photographs have been in an American private collection for over sixty years.

Tyneside Shipyard, Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1943
(c) Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Archive. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley.

You will discover  the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 20s, distinctive fashion pictures created for Vogue in the 30s, and wartime works for the Ministry of Works in the 2nd World War with Vivien Leigh, Queen Elizabeth consort of George VI), H G Wells and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their wedding day among the portraits on view.

Self Portrait in a Carriage, 1930s
(c) Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Archive. Image courtesy of Beetles+Huxley.

http://www.beetlesandhuxley.com

BOOK REVIEW: Beautiful People of the Café Society

Beautiful People of the Café Society

Scrapbooks by the Baron de Cabrol

Written by Baron de Cabrol, Text by Thierry Coudert

Publisher: Flammarion
ISBN: 978-2-08-020271-0
£75

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The Baron de Cabrol’s legendary scrapbooks take us into an exciting era of glamour and style combined with extravagance and decadence.  It is the world of cosmopolitan café society from 1938 to the 60s amusingly brought to life by through collages, watercolours and archival documents, Daisy and Fred de Cabrol were one of the leading society couples of their era and knew everybody worth knowing.

Bal de Têtes” at the Cabrols, March 25, 1949. © Fred de Cabrol, from Beautiful People of the Café Society (Flammarion, 2016)

Bal de Têtes” at the Cabrols, March 25, 1949.
© Fred de Cabrol, from Beautiful People of the Café Society (Flammarion, 2016)

In this riveting social history we encounter the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Arturo Lopez-Willshaw and his wife Patricia, Pamela Harriman, Charles de Beistegui, Cecil Beaton, Diana and Duff Cooper, Mona Bismarck and many, many others. This is a wonderful trip into a vanished world – those were the days!

Bobsy Carvalho’s Venetian ball, given in 1948 at the Deligny swimming pool. To the left is Daisy de Cabrol, to the right, Fred de Cabrol and the Baroness de l’Espée, and in the center, Bobsy Carvalho. © Fred de Cabrol, from Beautiful People of the Café Society (Flammarion, 2016).

Bobsy Carvalho’s Venetian ball, given in 1948 at the Deligny swimming pool. To the left is Daisy de Cabrol, to the right, Fred de Cabrol and the Baroness de l’Espée, and in the center, Bobsy Carvalho.
© Fred de Cabrol, from Beautiful People of the Café Society (Flammarion, 2016).

http://editions.flammarion.com/

A Dagenham Designer

HARDY AMIES: A DAGENHAM DESIGNER, Valence House Museum, Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, RM8 3HT, until 25th February 2017

Queen Elizabeth (b.1926), photo Cecil Beaton (1904-80). Photograph. England, 1969. © Cecil Beaton/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Queen Elizabeth (b.1926), photo Cecil Beaton (1904-80).
Photograph. England, 1969.
© Cecil Beaton/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Although the renowned couturier and royal dressmaker  Sir (Edwin) Hardy Amies (1909-2003) was born just up the road from me in Maida Vale his story is being told, rightly so, in Dagenham where his father was the land agent acquiring land for the Becontree Estate in the 1920s and 30s. It was the largest public housing project of its time and was part of the Homes fit for Heroes national housing programme. Amies grew up there firstly at Gale Street Farm and then later at White House. The latter is being used to host some of the events related to the exhibition.

Hardy Amies with his father and sister outside Gale Street Farm, Dagenham, 1920. Image © LBBD Archive at Valence House

Hardy Amies with his father and sister outside Gale Street Farm, Dagenham, 1920.
Image © LBBD Archive at Valence House

It is being held in Valence House Museum, a place which merits a visit on its own accord as it tells the long and interesting history of the area. Amies skill is revealed through his work whether for Her Majesty the Queen, the high street store chain Hepworths or his designs for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. He was also involved in the designs for the clothing of the 1966 English World Cup Team both off and on the pitch.

Barbara Goalen (1921-2002) and Hardy Amies (1909-2003), photo John French (1906-66). Photograph. London, UK, 1952. © John French / Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Barbara Goalen (1921-2002) and Hardy Amies (1909-2003), photo John French (1906-66).
Photograph. London, UK, 1952.
© John French / Victoria and Albert Museum, London

He was an astute business man and as he himself wrote in his book ‘Still Here’ My forte was tailored clothes”.  The exhibition has various examples of his designs on show including two that were worn by the Queen as well as clothes worn by Amies himself. While not a large-scale show it is one that I am very pleased to have seen.

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee outfit Hardy Amies, 1977 Image © Royal Collection Trust/All Rights Reserved

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee outfit
Hardy Amies, 1977
Image © Royal Collection Trust/All Rights Reserved

The exhibition has been co-curated by Create London and Valence House Museum, with dress historian and curator Amy de la Haye.

The White House Image © LBBD Archive at Valence House

The White House
Image © LBBD Archive at Valence House

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm (except public holidays)

 

www.lbbd.gov.uk/…/valence-house

http://createlondon.org/event/hardy-amies

Label from Hardy Amies’ own suit jacket, 1967 Image © LBBD Archive at Valence House

Label from Hardy Amies’ own suit jacket, 1967
Image © LBBD Archive at Valence House

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

www.rizzoliusa.com

Room Portraits by Jeremiah Goodman

Jeremiah – Inspired Interiors, Room Portraits by Jeremiah Goodman, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, 39 Brook Street, London W1, until 5th December 2016

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To me this is the perfect subject for the last exhibition that Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler will host in the famous Yellow Room, so beloved by Nancy Lancaster, before they finally move out completely to Pimlico Road and Fulham Road. It has been curated by Dean Rhys Morgan.

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The American artist Jeremiah Goodman (b. 1922) is renowned for his evocative pictures of interiors. After studying at the Franklin School of Professional Art he became a successful advertising illustrator with his work appearing in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Interior Design Magazine. It will come as no surprise that his work attracted the interest of architects, industrial and interior designers.

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Goodman was always interested in creating portraits of interiors but a meeting with the renowned actor Sir John Gielgud in 1948 changed things.  Jeremiah sums it up: ‘Before I met him I painted interiors for my own pleasure, but he invited me to England, where I went in 1949, and began to introduce me to his friends. It was all very Brideshead Revisited and I found myself in the company of people like Cecil Beaton, John Fowler and Ivor Novello. I was invited to stay in glorious country houses.’ Since then he has been creating portraits of rooms from the homes of the rich and famous.

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His distinctive informal style – often using transparent watercolour and opaque gouache on illustration board – perfectly captures details on textiles and the patterns of light in these exquisite rooms. These room portraits are the perfect finale for the Yellow Room and I seriously encourage you to see them.

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www.jeremiahgoodman.com

www.sibylcolefax.com

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A Celebration of Royal Style

Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe, Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, until 2nd October 2016

A display of dresses from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe on display at Buckingham Palace. Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

A display of dresses from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe on display at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This year visitors to Buckingham Palace are given an extra special treat with this exhibition. It is a wonderful way to mark The Queen’s 90th birthday and to celebrate her patronage of British fashion design from the replica of the original Christening gown worn since 1841 by succeeding members of the Royal Family to this year’s bright green outfit worn at Trooping the Colour.

Queen Elizabeth II standing in the White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace. Official portrait by Cecil Beaton, 1968 Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Queen Elizabeth II standing in the White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace. Official portrait by Cecil Beaton, 1968
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

It explores every aspect of The Queen’s official life, including the robes that she and Princess Margaret wore to their parents’ coronation, her wedding dress and Coronation gown as well as her military attire. The specially created dresses and outfits for State visits and overseas tours such as the stunning evening dress her Majesty wore to on her first state visit to Germany in 1965 and which was inspired by the rococo decoration at Schloss Bruhl reveal the care and attention that goes into the detail of such outfits each time.

A display of evening wear from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe on show at Buckingham Palace. Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

A display of evening wear from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe on show at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Also one sees the outfits the Queen has worn for family occasions such as the wedding of Princess Anne, the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969 and the celebrations of her various Jubilees.  It is a hugely colourful exhibition as so many of The Queen’s clothes are in bright, strong colours so that she is easily visible to all, especially in a crowd.  There is also the striking dress she wore in the James Bond sequence that was a highlight of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012. The corridor lined with examples of The Queen’s hats is rather a trip down memory lane as you will recognise many of them.  I must say that the song Ah, yes, I remember it well from Gigi came to mind.

Crystal and lace peach beaded cocktail dress by Angela Kelly. The dress and headpiece were worn by The Queen when she appeared in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics with James Bond. Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Crystal and lace peach beaded cocktail dress by Angela Kelly. The dress and headpiece were worn by The Queen when she appeared in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics with James Bond.
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This display is a really happy, nostalgic and heart-warming experience that aptly reflects the life and reign of a very special lady indeed – our Queen!

A display of The Queen's hats from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe at Buckingham Palace. Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

A display of The Queen’s hats from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

A display of dresses on show at Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, including Her Majesty's wedding dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, 1947 (far left) Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

A display of dresses on show at Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, including Her Majesty’s wedding dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, 1947 (far left)
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

 

Please remember when purchasing a ticket that you can
Enjoy free re-admission for a year by asking us to treat your ticket purchase as a donation.
The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity.

‘BEATON AT BROOK STREET’

BEATON AT BROOK STREET’, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, 39 Brook Street, London W1, 18th November – 5th December 2014

 

Mirror and ornaments at Ashcombe (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Mirror and ornaments at Ashcombe
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

This is a new version of the really wonderful show Beaton at Home that was held in Salisbury Museum earlier in the year. I wrote about it in my blog (25/06/14) in some detail so will not repeat it all here but for those of you that did not make it to Salisbury this is the chance to see key pieces from the recreation of rooms at both Ashcombe and Reddish.

Reddish, the Drawing Room looking south to the Garden, date unknown Red rooms were a fascination of Cecil’s and recurred throughout his stage (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Reddish, the Drawing Room looking south to the Garden, date unknown
Red rooms were a fascination of Cecil’s and recurred throughout his stage designs
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

The additional treat is that his London home – 8 Pelham Place – is included in this new London show, which is once again brilliantly curated by Andrew Ginger. Beaton had purchased Pelham Place in 1940 and shared it with his mother. Following her death in 1962, he decided on a revamp of the interiors to reflect the modern style of the 1960s. Modern art was combined with Giacometti lamps and 60s tub chairs to provide an ambience in contrast to the more traditional interiors of Reddish.

The Drawing Room, 8 Pelham Place, 1963 (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

The Drawing Room, 8 Pelham Place, 1963
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Beaton used the house as a backdrop for some of the portraits he took of personalities such as Twiggy and Gilbert and George and some of these will be on view. These interiors carefully created by Beaton provided the perfect stage for a multi-talented man who was a photographer, theatre and costume designer, painter, diarist and socialite.

Evelyn Waugh, Sibyl Colefax, Phyllis de Janze and Oliver Messel (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Evelyn Waugh, Sibyl Colefax, Phyllis de Janze and Oliver Messel
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

I shall leave it to Roger Jones, director of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, to sum up why the firm was the perfect place to hold this celebration of Beaton’s homes: “We are thrilled to be holding this exhibition at Brook Street. Cecil Beaton’s links with Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler Ltd go back a long way: Lady Colefax was a great friend of Cecil Beaton, as was Nancy Lancaster, who owned the company in the 1950’s. John Fowler and Cecil Beaton also knew one another well, though their relationship was rather prickly at times. When we saw the wonderful Beaton exhibition at the Salisbury Museum this summer, we felt that its subject-matter, Beaton’s developing tastes and skill as an interior decorator as manifest in his own homes, was a perfect match for us as an interior decorating company. We were delighted when Andrew Ginger the curator agreed to bring the highlights of the Salisbury exhibition to us at Brook Street and add new material as well. Hugo Vickers’s new book, Cecil Beaton: Portraits and Profiles, was the excuse to add a further attraction: a display of Beaton portraits, many of them images from Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Studio Archives, and others, including pencil sketches and oil portraits, privately lent by many kind friends.”

Nancy Lancaster in the Entrance Hall, Haseley Court, 1950s (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Nancy Lancaster in the Entrance Hall, Haseley Court, 1950s
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 

www.sibylcolefax.com

Cecil Beaton self-portrait, 1951 (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Cecil Beaton self-portrait, 1951
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 LECTURE INFORMATION

Doors open at 6.30pm and lectures commence at 7pm (prompt)

Malice in Wonderland – Wednesday, 19 November

Hugo Vickers, Cecil Beaton’s official biographer and literary executor, discusses his life and work and introduces CECIL BEATON: PORTRAITS & PROFILES, combining photographic and pen portraits

 

The Beaton Image – Wednesday, 26 November

A rare showing of this excellent 1984 BBC documentary, with introduction by Andrew Ginger, curator of CECIL BEATON AT HOME – TOWN & COUNTRY

 

My Fashionable Life – Tuesday, 2 December

Fashion historian Dr Ben Wild considers Beaton’s own style and sartorial elegance in this beautifully illustrated lecture

 

The Man, the Magazine, the Century – Thursday, 4 December

Josephine Ross, author of BEATON IN VOGUE, explores Beaton’s extensive contribution to Vogue magazine through his drawings, photographs and essays

 

Evening lectures at 39 Brook Street, W1. Tickets £25 each, including a pre-lecture glass of wine.

Contact Colefax Group Press Office on +44 (0)20 7318 6035, email: pressoffice@colefax.com

 

Signed copies of the book will be available at £28 each (rrp £30) or £50 for two throughout the exhibition.