Fonds Beaton - Papers of Sir Cecil Beaton

Identity area

Reference code


Unique identifier

GB 275 Beaton


Papers of Sir Cecil Beaton


  • 1917–1980 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

46 boxes paper; photograph

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Photographer, artist, writer, and designer of scenery and costumes. Educated at Harrow and St John's College, Cambridge, 1922-5. Made his name as a photographer through portraits of the Sitwells. Employed by Vogue in London and New York. Published 'The Book of Beauty' (1930). Photographed the Duke of Windsor's wedding, 1937. War photographer, 1939-45. Designed 'Lady Windermere's Fan', 1945. Designed costumes for 'An Ideal Husband' and 'Anna Karenina', 1948. Worked on 'The School for Scandal', 1949, 'Quadrille' for Noel Coward, 1952, 'Turandot', 1961, and 'La Traviata', 1966. Designed costumes for 'My Fair Lady', 1956, and for the film version in Hollywood, 1963. His play 'The Gainsborough Girls', 1951 and 1959, was unsuccessful. Published 'The Glass of Fashion' (1954), and six volumes of diaries. Exhibited photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, 1968. Knighted 1972.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Presented to the College by Beaton's literary executors, 1986.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Includes correspondence, diaries, notebooks, typescripts and one photograph.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Access to some of the diaries is restricted.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright in Beaton's work rests with his literary executors.

Language of material

  • English
  • Italian

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Notes area


Preferred citation: St John's College Library, Papers of Sir Cecil Beaton

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Dates of creation revision deletion

31 Jul 2017




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