Preview: Cecil Beaton — Theatre Of War

Cecil Beaton is rightly known as one of Britain’s best photographers of celebrity and royalty (viz the V&A’s exhibition of Queeny photos earlier this year). But he also played a lesser-known role during the Second World War. Beaton was commissioned by the Ministry of Information in 1940 to document the conflict throughout Britain, the Middle East, India, China and Burma. He ended up becoming the longest-serving professional war photographer, and later counted this work as his most important.

The Imperial War Museum in Lambeth now brings together 250 of Beaton’s photographs from the 1940s, setting them alongside film, drawings and personal diaries. Four talks support the show: an introduction to the photographer (29 September); how to stage a war photo (27 October); how Beaton’s legacy has been preserved (21 November); and Vogue and wartime fashion (24 November).

Cecil Beaton: Theatre of War is at Imperial War Museum, Lambeth from 6 September 2012 to 1 January 2013. Tickets are £8 (full price).

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