BEATON, Cecil. Cecil Beaton’s Scrapbook.

(New York, NY): Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937. First American edition. Large quarto.  [136] pp.  Beaton, is one of the best-loved fashion and portrait photographers in history, employed during the golden years of glossy magazines by Vogue, Harper’s and Vanity Fair, not to mention any Sunday supplement worth its credentials.  His list of subjects, equally, is unrivalled, ranging from the aristocratic and highbrow to the determinedly populist – Cristobal Balenciaga, Margot Fonteyn, Vita Sackville-West, Gilbert and George, Jane Birkin, Mick Jagger and, of course, the British Royal Family were all captured by his lens, as was Greta Garbo, whom the photographer once went so far as to propose to. Beaton also worked as a hugely observant and witty diarist.  Less well-known, perhaps, is the fact that throughout his long and grand career, this extraordinarily protean talent attended as painstakingly to his scrapbooks as he did to any more formal work.  Primarily intended for Beaton’s personal use, a way of expressing a prevailing mood, preparing for a more challenging commission or just gathering together images that piqued his interest in some way.  The scrapbook here is revealing of his interests and obsessions, as well as being entertaining, the volume additionally offers an insight to his creative process.  This is a good copy in toned and rubbed cloth together with a poor example of the scarce dust jacket lacking most of the spine, as well as being chipped and worn at edges with some further loss.  This example has been inscribed on the front free endpaper to Robert Blake.


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