Beaton in the Sixties
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Sharp, savage, hilarious more first-hand views from the celebrated diarist.
Beaton in the Sixties by Hugo Vickers
The enthusiastic reception for The Unexpurgated Beaton, the first volume of the diaries of Cecil Beaton as he wrote them, has prompted Hugo Vickers to return to the 145 original manuscript volumes for a second effervescent and un-retouched selection.
Here is Cecil in the second half of the 1960s at the peak of his career as a photographer and designer. The triumph of My Fair Lady, which he designed for both the theatre and on film, is behind him. As this volume opens Sir Winston Churchill lies dying. But it is off with the old and on with the new - this is the 'swinging sixties', the era of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Mary Quant. Cecil the photographer is as much in demand as ever, still contributing to Vogue, even occasionally for old friends making an exception and becoming once again a bride photographer, as he did for Lucy Lambton.
Cecil the designer signs up for the Alan Jay Lerner-André Previn musical Coco, based on the life of his old friend Coco Chanel. Here in unexpurgated form for the first time is his chilling account of that gruesome experience, over which the menacing figure of Katharine Hepurn looms large.
Beaton also travels aboard Cécile de Rothschild's yacht with Greta Garbo. He encounters Andy Warhol and Picasso and is fascinated by how the new generation tests the boundaries as he and his friends had done in the 1920s.
Hugo Vickers, Beaton's biographer, provides the introduction, the links and what Alexander Walker in his review of the original volume called his 'waspish footnotes, the salt on the side of the dish'.
‘'Up until now, his true views of the famous were a well-kept secret. However, thanks to biographer Hugo Vickers, you can now revel in his acerbic take on twentieth-century society'
'Beaton had been in lifelong pursuit of beauty, yet had he chosen to be a novelist rather than an aesthete, it appears that he might have rivalled the great Nancy Mitford'
'As a lightning observer of surfaces he was superb. That was the secret of his brilliance as both a photographer and a diarist'
Roy Strong, Country Life
'As a diarist, his eye for detail and ability to distil the impressions gleaned from an event into a few paragraphs are impressive…I found myself totally gripped by the whole book'
'These diaries are certainly 'hot and strong' enough to cause a stir, Like all the great diarists Beaton has the essential qualities of candour and unflinching honesty. Vickers has also done an admirable job with the footnotes. Some of his pithy annotations are as diverting as the diary entries themselves'
Hugh Massingberd, Spectator
'I hugely enjoyed the wicked wit on display in The Unexpurgated Beaton'
Wallace Arnold, Telegraph
'I relished the un-retouched word portraits of celebrities Beaton photographed and hobnobbed with…what a cast!'
Alexander Walker, Evening Standard
'Savagely bitchy, brilliantly vivid and wonderfully gossipy'
Penny Vincenzi, Critic's Choice, Daily Mail
About the Author
Publication date7th October 2004
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