February 21, 2016


Back to Top

Lot 123: Cecil Beaton

Lot 123: Cecil Beaton

Untitled (10)

c. 1963
Gelatin silver print
One signed and inscribed by the artist in blue ink verso
Sheets each: 10" x 8" (one framed)
Comprised of nine photographs and one contact sheet of Jack Larson and James Bridges at Watts Towers in Watts, California (partial illustration)

Together with two notes from the artist and envelope postmarked September 24, 1963, and other ephemera
Provenance: Jack Larson and James Bridges, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Estimate: $1,200 - $1,500
Price Realized: $1,125
Inventory Id: 21122

Have this work or something similar?

Email us today for a free, confidential
market evaluation from one of our specialists.


The name Cecil Beaton (1904–1980)–portrait and fashion photographer and designer of couture, interiors, costumes, and sets for theater and film–was for decades a byword for chic and glamour. In the 1920s he worked as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines in his native London, documenting the comings-and-goings of the Bright Young Things of the upper class. The following decade saw Beaton shooting portraits of the Royal Family. During World War II, he worked as a photographer for Britain's Ministry of Information, covering the London Blitz as well as the fighting in North Africa. After the conflict ended, Beaton resumed celebrity portraiture and expanded his work in set and costume design. He won two Tony Awards® for costume design in a musical as well as three Oscars®: one for costume design for Gigi (1958) and for both costumes and art direction for My Fair Lady (1964).

Beaton developed a singular technique for his portraits: placing his sitters against unusual and vivid backdrops, they became just one element of an overall dramatic composition. This group of arresting and intimate photographs of Jack Larson and James Bridges at the Watts Towers are a superb example of the Beaton style. Beaton was quite possibly introduced to Larson and Bridges by their close friend Leslie Caron, the star of Gigi.

Garner, Philippe, and David Mellor. Cecil Beaton: Photographs 1920–1970. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1995. Print.