Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beautiful Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton

The photographs of the British royal family by Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) were central to shaping the monarchy's public image in the mid-20th century. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was still a young princess when she first sat for Beaton in 1942. Over the next three decades he would be invited to photograph the Queen on many significant occasions, including her Coronation Day in 1953.

Contact sheet of the Royal Family, Cecil Beaton, Buckingham Palace, October 1942.

The most memorable of Beaton's images combine the splendour of historic royal portrait painting with an intimacy that only photography and film can convey. His detailed diary accounts reveal the complexities of each sitting, from the intense planning and excitement beforehand to the pressures of achieving the perfect shot.

Queen Elizabeth II in coronation robes by Cecil Beaton, 1953.

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton, 1968.

Princess Elizabeth by Cecil Beaton, March 1945.

Princess Elizabeth as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards by Cecil Beaton, Buckingham Palace, October 1942.

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton, Buckingham Palace, 1968.

Queen Elizabeth, Buckingham Palace Garden, Cecil Beaton, 1939.

Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Andrew by Cecil Beaton, 1960.

Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, Buckingham Palace, Cecil Beaton, October 1942.

Princess Elizabeth, Cecil Beaton, Buckingham Palace, October 1942.

Queen Elizabeth II with her Maids of Honour by Cecil Beaton, 2 June 1953.

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton, 2 June 1953.

(Images © Cecil Beaton / V&A Images, via Victoria and Albert Museum)

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