Cecil Beaton 1904 - 1980
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Photographer, artist, designer and socialite, Cecil Beaton was born in Hampstead, London, on 14 January 1904, into the family of a wealth y merchant. Whilst at Harrow School, he developed a passion for both photography and social advancement which, combined with his natural talent for aesthetics, subsequently propelled him to the heights of fame. As a prominent member of the Bright Young People during the 1920s, a set he had purposefully adopted, Beaton photographed a generation of glitzy young socialites and artists with unique style. His sparkling photographs provide a fascinating record of this enduringly popular group, but his ambition was not satisfied. In the late 1920s, he headed for Hollywood and New York, working for Condé Nast as a portrait and fashion photographer, and quickly created a formidable reputation, and an international demand for his work. After the Second World War, during which he worked as a photographer for the Ministry of Information, Beaton continued as before, albeit altering his style to fit with the changing times. He also earned acclaim for his costume designs, winning Oscars for Gigi in 1957 and My Fair Lad y in 1964. Beaton’ s brilliant eye, theatrical persona, ruthless ambition and addiction to social advancement kept him in work for over six decades. From Stephen Tennant and the Sitwells, to Andy Warhol and the Rolling Stones, from flappers to Twiggy, Beaton’ s career straddled the twentieth century, recording its heroes and starlets, fashions and tastes. Beaton died at Reddish House, Broad Chalk, Wiltshire, on 18 January 1980.