Cecil Beaton at 25 Blythe Road, London W14

Harry Moore –Gwyn: British and Continental Pictures, 25 Blythe Road, London W14

Following on from my recent blogs on Cecil Beaton I thought I would draw your attention to this design for Rhodope’s costume for the 1944 play Crisis in Heaven and for which he designed the costumes. The play was directed by John Gielgud.

LOT 73  SIR CECIL BEATON  (BRITISH, 1903-1980)  AR  RHODOPE  inscribed extensively; watercolour over pen and ink with material sample  42cm x 28cm; 23 3/4in x 19 3/4in  Provenance: the Cecil Beaton Studio Sale, Christie's.  Estimate: £600 - £800  Time Left: Closes (8 July 2014 3:12:00 PM)

LOT 73
SIR CECIL BEATON
(BRITISH, 1903-1980)
AR
RHODOPE
inscribed extensively; watercolour over pen and ink with material sample
42cm x 28cm; 23 3/4in x 19 3/4in
Provenance: the Cecil Beaton Studio Sale, Christie’s.
Estimate:
£600 – £800
Time Left:
Closes (8 July 2014 3:12:00 PM)

Bidding opens 3rd July finishing on 8th July 2014

Pictures viewing days at the 25 Blythe Road Gallery:
Saturday 5th July 12-4pm
Sunday 6th July 12-4pm
Monday 7th July 10am-7pm
Tuesday 8th July 10am-12pm

Online viewing for the catalogue at http://www.25BlytheRoad.com

Cecil Beaton at Wilton

Cecil Beaton at Wilton, until 14th September, 2014

East Front of Wilton House  ©Wilton House Trust

East Front of Wilton House
©Wilton House Trust

This exhibition is a celebration of Cecil Beaton’s friendship with the Pembroke family whose ancestral home is Wilton House. From attending his first ball there in 1927 (he was thrown in the river) to a birthday lunch in January, 1980, just three days before his death, he photographed and recorded the lives of three generations of the family. Beaton lived nearby firstly at Ashcombe and then at Reddish.

Cecil Beaton in “All the Vogue”, Cambridge, 1925 © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

Cecil Beaton in “All the Vogue”, Cambridge, 1925
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

The photographs from Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Studio Archive reveal a world of pageants, costume balls and country house parties and show Beaton’s flair for creating fancy dress and mis-en-scène. So it is no wonder that as well as being a celebrated photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair, he would win Oscars in the cinema and Tony awards in theatre for his designs.

Alice von Hofmannsthal, Ashcombe,1937, in her Costume for "The Gardener's Daughter" for "The Anti Dud Ball" at the Dorchester Hotel, 13 July 1937 © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

Alice von Hofmannsthal, Ashcombe,1937, in her Costume for “The Gardener’s Daughter” for “The Anti Dud Ball” at the Dorchester Hotel, 13 July 1937
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

He was fortunate in that he was able to combine his personal life with his artistic pursuits and so we in our turn can enjoy it in this new exhibition space at Wilton. The stylish show is designed and curated by Jasper Conran.

Wilton House Cecil Beaton © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

Wilton House Cecil Beaton
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

The Countess of Pembroke in her Robes for the Coronation of George VI, 1937 © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

The Countess of Pembroke in her Robes for the Coronation of George VI, 1937
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

Lord Pembroke says: “There is a strong family connection with Cecil Beaton and although I was too young to remember him, my mother and older sisters certainly have very fond memories of him here at Wilton.

The images that have been chosen are fascinating both as social history and also for their technical brilliance. Beaton was a genius when it came to studio photography, but he also excelled at capturing spontaneous shots of pure joy.

Lady Plunket (Dorothé) and Mr Maurice, 1937 © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

Lady Plunket (Dorothé) and Mr Maurice, 1937
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

I hope that the exhibition gives as much pleasure and inspiration to visitors as it has to us.”

Rex Whistler, 1927 © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

Rex Whistler, 1927
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

http://www.wiltonhouse.co.uk

Palladian Bridge at Wilton House ©Wilton House Trust

Palladian Bridge at Wilton House
©Wilton House Trust

Cecil Beaton at Home: Ashcombe & Reddish, Salisbury Museum

Cecil Beaton at Home: Ashcombe & Reddish, Salisbury Museum, Salisbury, until 19th September 2014)

Cecil Beaton on the front steps of Reddish House, Broad Chalke, June 1947, Reddish © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby’s

Cecil Beaton on the front steps of Reddish House, Broad Chalke, June 1947, Reddish © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby’s

 This really is a fascinating and revelatory exhibition as it takes us into Beaton’s private world and looks at his two homes in Wiltshire and his life there. In both homes there is a sense of theatricality whether the beautifully evoked Circus Room (Ashcombe) recreated here, or in the more formal elements of the Reddish Drawing Room that have been reunited once more.

Dorian Leigh photographed for ‘Modess... because’ campaign, Reddish House, Broad Chalke, 1950s, Reddish, © Johnson & Johnson

Dorian Leigh photographed for ‘Modess… because’ campaign, Reddish House, Broad Chalke, 1950s, Reddish, © Johnson & Johnson

  Cecil Beaton in his first costume of the night for the Fete Champetre, in his Circus bedroom, 10 July 1937, Ashcombe © Getty Images/ Time Life

Cecil Beaton in his first costume of the night for the Fete Champetre, in his Circus bedroom, 10 July 1937, Ashcombe © Getty Images/ Time Life

It is fortunate that curator Andrew Ginger is Director of Beaudesert Ltd and The Cecil Beaton Fabric Collection since it has meant that the special chintz for the Reddish Drawing Room once more covers the sofa, which Garbo sat on when she visited Beaton. Beaudesert Ltd was also responsible for the recreation of the “Circus Bed”.

Beaton’s certain eye for detail and composition both in his homes and his various costume designs and film and theatre sets has meant that he is still a source of inspiration and study for young designers.

Frontispiece montage for Cecil Beaton’s Scrapbook, 1937, Ashcombe © Private Collection

Frontispiece montage for Cecil Beaton’s Scrapbook, 1937, Ashcombe © Private Collection

However it is just not the physical settings that are considered there are his relationships with his mother Esther, secretary Eileen Hose as well as his love life -, his friendship with Greta Garbo and with the younger American academic Kin Hoitsma. Scrapbooks recall the numerous visitors who enjoyed his hospitality over the years. His skill as a painter is not ignored either with portraits of local children which he gave to their families. There are interior sketches of Reddish which he did with his left hand following his stroke.

Ashcombe House, by Rex Whistler, 1930s, Ashcombe © Private Collection

Ashcombe House, by Rex Whistler, 1930s, Ashcombe © Private Collection

This is a really all-encompassing look at Beaton’s country life in all its facets and it has certainly made me rethink my perception of him in a much warmer way. Do listen to the recollections of his local neighbours on the telephone. I also think it is wonderful that the Drawing Room curtains he gave to the villagers and which are used in the Village hall survive so well to this day, surely a tribute to him?

 

Portrait of Cecil Beaton by Henry Lamb, 1935 © Private Collection

Portrait of Cecil Beaton by Henry Lamb, 1935 © Private Collection

Generously supported by The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s, The Aldama Foundation, Quilter Cheviot, Savills, Sotheby’s, The Salisbury Area Board, The South West Area Board and other generous benefactors.

 

Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum, The Kings House, 65 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EN
01722 332151, www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

Opening times

Monday – Saturday, including bank holidays 10am – 5pm; Sundays (during June – September) 12noon – 5pm