Behind the Lens: Cecil Beaton on His Famous Subjects

In a career spanning from the 1920s to the 1970s, Sir Cecil Beaton photographed many of the most famous figures of the 20th century. From models and movie stars, to poets and politicians, he captured over fifty years of celebrity. He was, however, only rarely awed by his sitters and his private diary entries, collected in Hugo Vickers’ book Cecil Beaton: Portraits & Profiles, reveal his honest, and often scathing, opinions. Click ahead to see a selection of stunning photographs from The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s accompanied by a few of the photographer's thoughts about some of his most prominent subjects.

All extracts ©The Literary Executors of the late Sir Cecil Beaton