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Cecil Beaton (British, 1904–1980)
LOT ID: 79337
Ruth Ford as Jane in "The Shoemaker's Holiday", Mercury Theater, NYC, 1938

Silver Print
7.5 х 9.5 in. (19.05 x 24.13 cm.)
Signed, by the photographer in red ink on mount recto; date and detailed caption information inscribed in pencil on mount verso.
Lot description
Image size is 7.5 x 9.5 inches 19.1 x 24.1 cm).
Mount size is 15 x 11 inches (38.1 x 27.9 cm).
Frame size is 17 x 14 inches 43.2 x 35.6 cm).

An original vintage gelatin silver print by the iconic photographer Cecil Beaton, depicting a scene from the staging of Thomas Dekker's comedy, "The Shoemaker's Holiday", performed at the Mercury Theater in Manhattan. Formerly in the collection of the actress Ruth Ford.

British portrait photographer and theatrical designer Cecil Beaton was born in Hampstead, London. Beaton owned his first camera at the age of 11. His earliest portraits, set against home‐made backdrops, were of his sisters Nancy and Baba. He was educated at Harrow and Cambridge, but did not graduate. His subsequent career made him one of those rare photographers whose name is well known to the general public. He succeeded initially as a society portraitist who could maximize the allure of debutantes. But the encouragement of the Sitwell family gave him access to the world of the arts, and a 1927 portrait of Edith Sitwell was one of his earliest published pictures. A visit to New York at the end of the 1920s led to photographic contracts for Vogue and, subsequently, Vanity Fair and Harper's Bazaar. Beaton's work focused on the cultural icons (both social and artistic) of his day, providing a record of its famous, beautiful, fashionable, and eccentric figures. His appetite for travel enabled him to build up a body of work that had international significance. Hollywood stars captured by his camera included Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Katherine Hepburn, while painters ranged from Salvador Dalí to Francis Bacon. His portraits spanned parts of six decades and reflected successive generations of the new and avant‐garde, from Stravinsky, Cocteau, and Picasso to Warhol and Jagger. In the 1930s he was commissioned to take a series of pictures of Queen Elizabeth, and this proved to be a prelude to further royal photographs and the eventual status of official family portraitist. During the Second World War, in a phase of his career far removed from its usual glamorous milieu, he documented air‐raid damage in London and served as a war photographer in Africa and Asia.
Ruth Ford as Jane in The Shoemaker's Holiday, Mercury Theater, NYC by Cecil Beaton
  • Ruth Ford as Jane in The Shoemaker's Holiday, Mercury Theater, NYC by Cecil Beaton
  • Ruth Ford as Jane in The Shoemaker's Holiday, Mercury Theater, NYC by Cecil Beaton
  • Ruth Ford as Jane in The Shoemaker's Holiday, Mercury Theater, NYC by Cecil Beaton
  • Ruth Ford as Jane in The Shoemaker's Holiday, Mercury Theater, NYC by Cecil Beaton
  • Ruth Ford as Jane in The Shoemaker's Holiday, Mercury Theater, NYC by Cecil Beaton
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