Art | February 12, 2013

Amid the discarded garments, feather boas, parasols and scarves littering the canopy bed, a young Cecil Beaton, just sent down from Cambridge, watched his mother at her dressing table as she pinned a lily to the bodice of her dress. He reveled in the delicacy of her beauty and the pageantry of dressing up. The gown he had selected for her was pale green matte crêpe and embroidered with crystals. She wore a diamond headdress with leaves. As Cecil snapped pictures of her reflection in the triptych mirror with his Brownie box camera, he repeated his mantra: “I don’t have a middle-class bone in my body.”

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