CECIL BEATON: The Authorised Biography

Book number: 94045 Product format: Paperback Author: HUGO VICKERS

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Bibliophile price £6.00
Published price £14.99

A bestseller on publication in 1985, this biography draws largely on the remaining 145 volumes of Cecil Beaton's manuscript diaries dating from 1922 to 1974 when he suffered his stroke. He began keeping a diary at Harrow, but destroyed it when he was about 20 because he was frightened that it might be found. He began his day to day diary at Cambridge in October 1922 and filled 56 volumes with closely scrawled material including his first trip to America from 1928-29, his year in Hollywood working on My Fair Lady, summing up a particular summer or weekend, an occasion such as the Duke of Windsor's wedding, and a fictional account of a day spent with his Delhi secretary Jean MacFarlane in 1944 which in fact was spent with his Cairo secretary Pamela Burns in 1942. In this biography, only the original manuscript diaries are quoted, especially when a published version also exists. Much of this material was at times unpublishable and it remains a candid portrait of its writer, and a valuable mirror to the many worlds in which he moved. Nothing has been changed from the expressions he and his circle used, many of which are no longer considered acceptable but they are as they were written at the time, some incredibly bitchy and snobbish and cruel. Cecil Beaton was not just a great photographer but one of Britain's greatest cultural icons who captured some of the most celebrated portraits of the 20th century and was also a designer of the iconic sets and costumes for the films My Fair Lady and Gigi. In 1980, he personally chose Hugo Vickers to be his biographer and entrusted him with his vast collection of diaries and letters written both personally and professionally over the course of his life. Drawing on five years of intensive research and interviews with the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote, Princess Grace of Monaco and Sir John Gielgud, the biography explores Beaton's metamorphosis from being the child of a staid middle class family to an international figure mingling with the glittering stars of his age and detailing his great love for Greta Garbo and his private sense of failure. Republished 2020 paperback with Beaton family tree, 804pp, eight pages of colour and black and white photos.

Additional product information

ISBN 9781529316247

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