“REAL FANTASY” and A RABID AESTHETE: CECIL BEATON at BROOK STREET



 

©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Cecil Beaton self-portrait, 1938 ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s



To this day, the name Cecil Beaton conjures up an abundance of signifiers for talent and taste: celebrated photographer, award-winning theatre, set and costume designer, illustrator, diarist, playwright, writer, dandy, socialite and intimate of royalty.

The impact and appeal of the 20th century prolific polymath have not dwindled since his death in 1980 and Cecil Beaton is still relevant today, commanding admiration and fascination with an ever-growing international audience.



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The influential Beaton has in fact been celebrated in various ways in the last six months and will be even more for the forthcoming weeks.
The acclaimed Cecil Beaton at Home exhibition which took place this summer at the Salisbury museum has now transferred, in part, to London until December 5. It is hosted by none other than the prestigious Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler – both decorators were close friends of Beaton – in its legendary Mayfair townhouse and
 A-Gent of Style was privileged to be given a private appointment last Wednesday morning at Brook Street for a guided tour.



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Nancy Lancaster, the owner of Colefax and Fowler, with her aunt Nancy Astor and Cecil Beaton in the 1950s (Unknown photographer) ©Colefax and Fowler

Nancy Lancaster, the owner of Colefax and Fowler, with her aunt Nancy Astor and Cecil Beaton in the 1950s
(Unknown photographer)
©Colefax and Fowler

 

Cecil Beaton with his pug in the Winter Garden, Reddish House 1961 (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Cecil Beaton with his pug in the Winter Garden, Reddish House 1961
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 

Aptly named this time Beaton at Brook Street and once again beautifully and intelligently curated by Andrew Ginger of Beaudesert Ltd, this exhibition is a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of Beaton’s interiors and creative inspirations, and to delve into his inner sanctum and fantastical world.

 Cecil Beaton at Home – Town & Country takes us upstairs to the iconic Yellow Room which has been transformed beyond recognition for the occasion to become the temporary backdrop and repository for the reconstructed vivid room sets and vignettes of the effete’s houses, displaying some of the private retreats created by Cecil Beaton himself at his two country houses in Wiltshire (Ashcombe and Reddish) with the addition this time of his London home, 8 Pelham Place.

 

Against a red velvet upholstered wall stands Twiggy, recreating the iconic image Cecil took of her at Pelham Place for Vogue Oct 1967. A collection of vintage prints from the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's include celebrities of sixties London, also shot at his home, including Mick Jagger © Beaudesert

Against a red velvet upholstered wall stands Twiggy, recreating the iconic image Cecil took of her at Pelham Place for Vogue Oct 1967. A collection of vintage prints from the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s include celebrities of sixties London, also shot at his home, including Mick Jagger © Beaudesert

 

 

 

Twiggy by Cecil Beaton, Vogue, 1967  ©Conde Nast/Beaudesert

Twiggy by Cecil Beaton, Vogue, 1967 © Conde Nast



Cecil Beaton's original sofa from Reddish House sits beneath a copy of the Swinstead oil painting of his mother Esther ©Beaudesert

Cecil Beaton’s original sofa from Reddish House sits beneath a copy of the Swinstead oil painting of his mother Esther ©Beaudesert

 

 

Beaton on the original sofa at Reddish. Spot the original chintz on the curtains © National Portrait Gallery, London

Beaton on the original sofa at Reddish. Spot the original chintz on the curtains, source unknown

 

 

A corner of Cecil's Pelham Place sitting room with black velvet upholstered walls, an African mask and a copy of the portrait by Christian Bérard ©Beaudesert

A recreation of a corner at Pelham Place of Cecil Beaton’s sitting room with black velvet upholstered walls, an African mask and a copy of the portrait by Christian Bérard ©Beaudesert

 

The Drawing Room, 8 Pelham Place, 1963 (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

The Drawing Room, 8 Pelham Place, 1963
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 


The star of the show is undeniably the extraordinary ‘Circus Bed’ – a recreation of Beaton’s own bed originally designed by Rex Whistler in 1931 and made by circus-round-about-makers Savages – which has been made this time by specialist bed makers Beaudesert. The bed boasts Neptune, unicorns, sea horses, glittery back curtain, embroidered bed cover, gilded barley-twist posts and many frivolous Rococo designs – most probably instigated by Beaton’s trips to Austria, Italy and Germany – enough to make Liberace’s own boudoir look butch. On show are other delightful recreations painstakingly executed by Andrew Ginger and his team such as the reprinted rose-pattern chintz that Beaton cherished to cover a sofa from Reddish, hessian curtains from Beaton’s studio at Ashcombe ornamented with a plethora of mother-of-pearl buttons, and the replica of the 18th century-style ‘Rabbit Coat’ made of corduroy with muslin roses, woolen yarns and plastic egg shells that Beaton wore in 1937 at one of his infamous fêtes champêtres (it was one of his four outfits for the evening. As you do).

Cecil Beaton's Circus Bed, originally designed by Rex Whistler, recreated by Beaudesert Ltd ©Beaudesert

Cecil Beaton’s Circus Bed, originally designed by Rex Whistler, recreated by Beaudesert Ltd ©Beaudesert

 

Cecil Beaton wearing The Rabbit Coat covered with broken eggs and the trousers with bees.  (Photo by John Phillips//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Cecil Beaton wearing The Rabbit Coat covered with broken eggs and the trousers with bees. (Photo by John Phillips//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

 

'Replica of the Rabbit Coat made under licence from the V&A for Beaudesert by Jackie Josey & Claire Proctor .' (and ©Beaudesert

Replica of the Rabbit Coat made under licence from the V&A for Beaudesert by Jackie Josey & Claire Proctor ©Beaudesert

 

Cecil Beaton and the 'Rabbit Coat', 1937, Gordon Anthony © National Portrait Gallery, London

Cecil Beaton and the ‘Rabbit Coat’, 1937, Gordon Anthony © National Portrait Gallery, London



Bronze bust of Cecil beaton by Frank Dobson in front of the pearl buttoned curtains recreated by Beaudesert ©Beaudesert

Bronze bust of Cecil beaton by Frank Dobson in front of the pearl buttoned curtains recreated by Beaudesert ©Beaudesert




Part of the focus and angle of this show is to reassess and reacquaint the audience with Beaton’s overlooked flair and tastes for interior decoration as well as with his extraordinary life and legacy of work through the eye of artworks (such as a beautiful Christian Berard oil painting, an African mask), furniture, possessions, artefacts and garments. It is fair to say that Beaton’s anti-conventional, complex spirit and his bold, daring attitude to life transpire in his sophisticated, fanciful interiors more often than not replete for instance with velvet on the walls, marbleised skirting, silver braids, cushions made from geisha kimono sashes, gold satin curtains, gilded doors, Scamozian Ionic columns, Giacometti lamps, and wolf fur throws amongst exceptional modern art and, of course, lavish flower arrangements.

Reddish, the library, The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's

Reddish, the library, The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 

Reddish, the 'hallway, decorated for Christmas, circa 1950s', The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's

Reddish, the hallway, decorated for Christmas, circa 1950s, The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 

Reddish, the Drawing Room looking south to the Garden, date unknown (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Reddish, the Drawing Room looking south to the Garden, date unknown
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 

 

Reddish house, from the garden, ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Reddish house, from the garden, ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 

Mirror and ornaments at Ashcombe (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Mirror and ornaments at Ashcombe
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 

Evelyn Waugh, Sibyl Colefax, Phyllis de Janze and Oliver Messel (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Evelyn Waugh, Sibyl Colefax, Phyllis de Janze and Oliver Messel (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 

 

Cecil Beaton with Mickey the cat at Reddish house ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

Cecil Beaton with Mickey the cat at Reddish house ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s



The Drawing Room, 8 Pelham Place, 1963 (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

The Drawing Room, 8 Pelham Place, 1963
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

 

The Bedroom Room, 8 Pelham Place, 1963 (Cecil Beaton) ©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s

The Master Bedroom Room, 8 Pelham Place, 1963
(Cecil Beaton)
©The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s



The exhibition focuses also on the publication of Cecil Beaton: Portraits and Profiles by Beaton’s official biographer, Hugh Vickers, some photographs of which are on display throughout the showrooms. There are also some rarely seen paintings by Beaton himself and photographs on loan from The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s, private lenders and Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, which can all be viewed throughout the main rooms on the ground floor and two other rooms on the first floor,  grouped thematically as Stage & Screen, Writers & Scholars, Society & Politics, Royalty, The Coronation, Colefax & Beaton, and finally modern Beaton prints. They are nine modern high quality prints taken from Beaton’s original negatives from the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s which have been printed exclusively for the Brook Street show by Sotheby’s, and are available for sale only for the period of the exhibition. Be ready to be dazzled by these original, unearthed gems. There is also a series of lectures and screening (see below for details).



Cecil Beaton self-portrait, 1930s (Cecil Beaton) © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's

Cecil Beaton self-portrait, 1930s
(Cecil Beaton)
© The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s



Cecil Beaton embodies the glamour of the 20th century, creative genius, fearlessness, irreverence as well as theatrical excess, decadence and flamboyance and thanks to this wonderful and triumphant collaboration, the legacy of one of Britain’s Renaissance men can live on and prosper.

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Beaton at Brook Street

Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 5.30pm

Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, 39 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4JE

Admission free


Lectures information:

Doors open at 6.30pm and lectures commence at 7pm (prompt)

The Beaton Image on Wednesday, 26 November:  A rare showing of this excellent 1984 BBC documentary, with introduction by Andrew Ginger, curator of CECIL BEATON AT HOME – TOWN & COUNTRY

My Fashionable Life on Tuesday, 2 December: Fashion historian Dr Ben Wild considers Beaton’s own style and sartorial elegance in this beautifully illustrated lecture.

The Man, the Magazine, the Century on Thursday, 4 December: Josephine Ross, author of BEATON IN VOGUE, explores Beaton’s extensive contribution to Vogue magazine through his drawings, photographs and essays.

Evening lectures at 39 Brook Street, W1. Tickets £25 each, including a pre-lecture glass of wine. Contact Colefax Group Press Office on +44 (0)20 7318 6035, email: pressoffice@colefax.com

Signed copies of the book will be available at £28 each (rrp £30) or £50 for two throughout the exhibition. A selection of Cecil Beaton framed modern silver gelatin prints are for sale during the exhibition at £1,600 each.


Cecil Beaton by Gordon Anthony, 1935 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Cecil Beaton by Gordon Anthony, 1935 © National Portrait Gallery, London




– Images by Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s and Beaudesert Ltd

The exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support of Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Studio Archive





 

‘FROM THE GALLERY TO THE ROOM’ at SIBYL COLEFAX & JOHN FOWLER





“At our Brook Street showrooms we once again have the opportunity to show
how this works in reality, and by taking the painting out of
Jenna Burlingham’s gallery and into our historic rooms you can see how exciting this style of decoration can be.”

– Philip Hooper, design director for Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler –


IMAGE: Q311470 Artwork: ‘January 1973:4’ screenprint by Patrick Heron Bronze: ‘Ravel ll’ by Richard Fox

Artwork: ‘January 1973:4’ screenprint by Patrick Heron
Bronze: ‘Ravel ll’ by Richard Fox


A-Gent of Style would like to inform you of a special collaboration opening tomorrow that should not be missed. 

Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler are delighted to present a forthcoming exhibition From the Gallery to the Room, in association with Jenna Burlingham Fine Art.
The exhibition will be held at the company’s historic 39 Brook Street, Mayfair premises from 17-27 June, 2014. “The exhibition gives us the opportunity to show what an exciting dynamic can be created in our Brook Street showroom by mixing our furniture and antiques with modern paintings” says Philip Hooper, design director for Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. “At Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, the decorators and designers like very much the dynamic that is created when furniture and objects from different eras are played off against one another; this is best seen when modern pictures are placed within our interiors. It is becoming more and more the excepted standard that a client will have a collection of 20th century, contemporary paintings and crafted objects and it is part of our role to curate and bring a sense of logic to a potentially random mix of things.”

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 Jenna Burlingham Fine Art, founded in 2010, is located in a refurbished Grade II listed building in Kingclere, Hampshire, one-hour from London and her gallery is a favourite among discerning interior decorators and collectors. On show will be works by leading Modern British artists, including Ivon Hitchens, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Elisabeth Frink, Winifred Nicholson, Mary Fedden and John Piper. “The exhibition is a wonderful chance for me to work with accomplished interior designers, and to exhibit carefully chosen Modern British and Contemporary art, drawings, sculpture and ceramics in the unrivalled setting of Brook Street” says Jenna Burlingham. “Jenna’s eye for the decorative means that her works are the ideal foil for our antiques” says Philip Hooper. “From the Gallery to the Room gives a true insight of how we consistently find ourselves decorating houses for the 21st century.”



IMAGE: Q311345 Ivon Hitchens 1893-1979 October Trees, Ashdown Forest, 1939 signed oil on canvas 21 x 24 in 53.3 x 61 cm Laurence McGowan:8 inch bowl, 2013 Signed with monogram Glazed stoneware 8" Elisabeth Frink Horse in the Rain, 1976 signed and numbered 2/9 (on the underside) bronze with a dark brown patina width 10 in width 25.4 cm (EF009)


Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979) ‘October Trees, Ashdown Forest’, 1939
signed, oil on canvas; bowl by Laurence McGowan, 2013, signed with monogram
Glazed stoneware; Elisabeth Frink ‘Horse in the Rain’, 1976, signed and numbered 2/9 (on the underside), bronze with a dark brown patina

 

All Furniture: Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. www.colefaxantiques.com

All Artwork, ceramics and bronzes supplied by Jenna Burlingham Fine Art.  www.jennaburlingham.com






“A LONDONER IN PARIS: THE NOTEWORTHY DRIES VAN NOTEN RETROSPECTIVE





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Numerous are the fashion exhibitions A-Gent of Style has swanned around over the years but nothing had prepared him for the revelation that is the first ever retrospective currently at Les Arts Décoratifs museum in Paris celebrating the notable career of Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten. When his friend Christophe d’Aboville highly recommended he saw this exhibition during his stay in Paris last week, A-Gent of Style was uncertain as to whether he would make it to Inspirations as he shamefully knew little about Van Noten who had seldom been on his sartorial radar. Pleasantly surprised would be far too mild an expression to describe the indelible impression the exhibit on the artist’s work had on him.
A-Gent of Style left the museum buzzing, re-energised and completely inspired by this maximalist cornucopia of layers, textures and compositions with cross-cultural, cross-societal and cross-geographical references and visual stimuli.


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Dries Van Noten takes us on an intimate journey into his artistic universe created since 1986 where he reveals the singularity of his creative process illustrating his various and numerous sources of inspiration. This event, expertly curated in the most sterling and intelligent manner, is an eye-opening experience where
Dries Van Noten’s men’s and women’s collections are put together and juxtaposed with iconic pieces from the museum’s fashion and textile collection. The show also includes photographs and videos, film clips (the embroideries and beading ones shot in India are sublime), musical references, as well as artworks by renowned artists, from public and private collections, that have triggered the designer’s imagination throughout his life and career.



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For this beautifully detailed and extensively researched exhibition which takes the form, on the second floor, of a kaleidoscopic hothouse of enchanted wild gardens and blossoming prints on the walls and on the floors, Dries Van Noten has brought together elements which point to other sources of inspiration, such as the Renaissance ‘chambers of wonder’ or ‘curiosity cabinets’ in which collectors amassed memorabilia and souvenirs. He has selected anonymous 19th century pieces and works by emblematic couturiers such as Elsa Schiaparelli and
Christian Dior ans 1980s designers, to evoke intimate subject matters such as youth, the archetype, ambiguity and passion, while highlighting his ‘signature’ themes.

 

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Thanks to exceptional loans, masterpieces by important artists such as Bronzino, Kees Van Dongen, Yves Klein, Victor Vasarely, Francis Bacon,
Elizabeth Peyton and Damien Hirst are on display in each section of the show ranging from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the 1950s, military uniforms, Spanish bullfighters, ’60s hippy chic, Bollywood, African tribes, punk and many more. Major films, including Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange and
Jane Campion’s The Piano, are also part of the event.

The exhibition is the result of Dries Van Noten’s close collaboration with the Arts Décoratifs Museum, which has prompted him to use several 19th century textile patterns in his 2014 men’s ans women’s Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collections that he unveiled in Paris in June and September 2013.


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– Photos by A-Gent of Style and Les Arts Décoratifs –







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