As we’ve pointed out recently Rizzoli has a whole treasure trove of ravishing new tomes out – today we’re sharing another favorite: Andrew Ginger’s Cecil Beaton At Home: An Interior Life.
If you have not already noticed we do love Beaton – flamboyant and self-created he was one of the great geniuses of his time – writer, artist, photographer, film maker, set designer he was a true Renaissance man, and continues to be remembered as an arbiter of style and taste. One of Beaton’s great passions were his houses and their decoration, and this is Ginger’s focus – he calls his monograph an interiorography: “the examination of a life through the medium of a succession of self-decorated domestic spaces.”
Many years ago when I read Beaton’s “Ashcombe: The Story of a Fifteen Year Lease,” one passage particularly resonated with me: “I was almost numbed by my first encounter with the house. It was as if I had been touched on the head by some magic wand. Some people may grow to love their homes: my reaction was instantaneous. It was love at first sight, and from the moment I stood under the archway, I knew that this place was destined to be mine. No matter what the difficulties, I would overcome them all: considerations of money, suitability or availability, were all superficial. This house must belong to me.”
Over the years I’ve exhibited a similar level of obsession (verging on delusion) when I’ve fallen in love with houses – perhaps some of our readership has felt the same impulsiveness? That being said, I think Ginger (and his resurrected Beaton) defends and vindicates the house-obssessed quite nicely!
Uncompromising in his commitment to beauty, quality, and impractical elegance, he has much to teach our informal and unoriginal age. But beyond the complications of art collecting, social status, and theatrical image making, Beaton understood the simple, universal truth, as he put it, that ‘not to take pleasure in one’s surroundings is to miss one of the great delights of life.’ – Andrew Ginger
A great part of Beaton’s magic was that he was actually able to manifest his many fantasies, and thankfully they’ve been beautifully documented as you will see in this marvelous volume. Furthermore, Ginger engagingly intertwines the stories of these houses with the people in Beaton’s life.
Filled with incredible images, many of which I had not yet seen – what a gorgeous gift for all the highly elevated aesthetes in your life! Why not pick up your copy of Cecil Beaton at Home: An Interior Life for the holidays.