An exhibition at Wilton House showcases previously unseen images from Cecil Beaton, one of Britain’s most celebrated photographers. Capturing the spirit of country house parties and costume balls, the photographs offer a vivid portrait of a charmed age. Situated just a few miles from Beaton’s country houses Ashcombe and Reddish, Wilton was the location for social events enjoyed and photographed by Beaton for over 50 years. Over time he chronicled the lives of three generations of the Pembroke family in the surroundings of the house which he described as “perhaps the most wonderful piece in all of Wiltshire’s domestic architecture”. The exhibition, which features photographs from The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s, was curated by Jasper Conran and runs until 18 September. Click ahead to preview some of the highlights.

All extracts from Beaton’s books ©The Literary Executors of the late Sir Cecil Beaton.