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CECIL BEATON AT HOME: AN INTERIOR LIFE

cecilbeatonathome_cover

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.”

The library at Reddish House by Cecil Beaton

The library at Reddish House by Cecil Beaton

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

Charles James clad model in Beaton's Reddish House drawing room

Charles James clad model in Beaton’s Reddish House drawing room

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.

The drawing room at 8 Pelham Place. 1962

The drawing room at 8 Pelham Place. 1962

Watercolor of Ashcombe by Cecil Beaton

Watercolor of Ashcombe by Cecil Beaton

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.

6 Comments

  1. I have always adored him…….and we share the same idea……”Love where you live!” (A pathetic paraphrase…….I just live it every day!)
    I love everything about where I live…..I love our house….our pond, our ducks…our chickens……birds everywhere…..so many birds…..wildlife!

    Today…..no so much. A bobcat killed my new beautiful and brave rooster…..”Andy”

    I have kept our chickens in for a month (since the bobcat killed another of our roosters).

    I let them out twice….(when I was outside with them); I left them out today for what I thought would be an hour….with Adam and Martha (the great heroine housekeeper!)

    The bobcat came……and my divine rooster Andy…..defended his hens…..and the bobcat killed him. I am sick.

    My fault.

  2. LA CONTESSA says:

    I bought this BOOK because I believe it was YOU who suggested it awhile back?I am in the MIDDLE of it relishing every PAGE!I have underlined(am MARKING The whole book up!)what you have printed here………..

    CECIL. and I would have had a GREAT………NO WONDERFUL time together had that been the case.

    I ADORE the fact he wore TUXEDO shoes for everyday!!!!!!!!

    Have just ordered the book about ASHCOMBE………..waiting for the TRUCK TO DELIVER!

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS to YOU!

  3. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Penelope Bianchi,

    I am so very sorry to hear of the untimely demise of your ravishing rooster!

    Not your fault- you were trying to provide them with a bit of freedom- sure they much prefer this!

    Sending lots of love and light

    All My Best

    JA

  4. James Andrew says:

    My Dear La Contessa,

    So very happy to hear- I have always been endlessly fascinated by Beaton and have every book ever written by him!

    Ashcombe is an amazing tale of his 15 year love affair this house!

    Their is a marvelous photo of him looking out of his bedroom window over the grounds of Ashcombe- saying his farewells.

    I am so enjoying the more personal side of Beaton – At Home and the people in his life!

    All My Best

    JA

  5. Scott Powell says:

    The Charles James-clad model was the most famous American fashion model of the late 1940s and early 1950s, Dorian Leigh. She was on the cover of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar many times in that era, and was probably the most chameleon-like of all of the era’s models. You might think you are seeing different women if you study several fashion photos of Dorian through the decades. Her younger sister Suzy Parker was also a super-model. Dorian’s autobiography was called The Girl Who Had Everything. She may have been the inspiration (or one of the inspirations) for the Holly Golightly character in Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Truman nicknamed Dorian “Happy Go Lucky.” Suzy might have inspired the Jo Stockton character played by Audrey Hepburn in the film Funny Face.

  6. James Andrew says:

    Dear Scott Powell,

    Thank You – I had heard bits of this – but fascinating to hear what you just shared!

    All Best

    JA

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