CECIL BEATON: THE ROYAL PORTRAITS by Roy C. Strong
Fashion photographer Cecil Beaton was summoned by the Queen of England to photograph the Royal Family in 1930, a move that was risky, given Beaton's reputation as unconventional and avant-garde. Beaton became the British Royalty's official photographer for the next 50 years, capturing the majesty and opulence, but also the vulnerability and humanness of the Royals. Here, we see 290 of his portraits, with Beaton's candid and biting diary entries interspersed throughout. Before-and-after proofs show why the Duke of Windsor ("he has common hands like a little mechanic") insisted on airbrushing and retouching. Other royals Beaton snapped include Queen Elizabeth II, who at her 1953 coronation said, "Yes in reply to my question, the crown does get rather heavy"; Prince Charles, who at 12 "has to be hearty . . . because that's what Papa expects of him"; and 10-year-old Princess Anne, who "continued her shrewishness" during a particularly difficult sitting. This book is a gilded fantasy of a time lost to the ages. We may never be royals, but we can pretend for a minute, can't we?
11.9 x 8.8 x 1.3