Cecil Beaton: Portraits

Black and white photo of Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sothebys London / Collection National Portrait Gallery, London


26 June 2009 to 31 August 2009

Free admission

This major restrospective exhibition brings together captivating images from Cecil Beaton, one of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century. Renowned for his images of elegance, glamour and style, Beaton's work has inspired many famous photographers including David Bailey and Mario Testino.

The exhibition reflects the astonishing talents of the photographer who was also a writer, artist, designer, actor, caricaturist, illustrator and diarist. There are four sections in the exhibition covering Beaton's career and capturing 50 years of fashion, art and celebrity:

  • The Early Years: London to Hollywood, 1920s and 1930s Photographs of Hollywood stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire and artists including John (Rex) Whistler, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

  • The Years Between: The War and Post-War Arts, 1940s
    Featuring Greta Garbo, Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier as well as Princess Elizabeth and Sir Winston Churchill.

  • The Strenuous Years: Picturing the Arts, 1950s
    Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, Francis Bacon, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Lucian Freud and Marilyn Monroe.

  • Partying and the Partying Years: Apotheosis and Retrospection, 1960s and 1970s
    Includes images of Audrey Hepburn, Prince Charles, Harold Pinter, Katherine Hepburn, Mick Jagger, Barbara Streisand
    and Elizabeth Taylor.

Exhibition organised by the National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery