The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 18, 2012

January 18, 1980

Cecil Beaton's (January 14, 1904 to January 18, 1980) famed career began with a boyhood passion for photography. His masterpieces derive not from a technical expertise so much, but his ability to pick the right moment to click the shutter. (They say the same of Henri Cartier-Bresson.)

In 1927 Vogue magazine made him a staff photographer. His work helped define a style of sophistication we associate with the 1930s. He was very popular in royal circles for his work, and their American equivalents. Mrs. John Jacob Astor, for instance, had him photograph her cat, in August of 1972.

In his Diary, --they were published before his death-- he notes that Edith Evans was fond of cats, and quotes a story, he was told, of her aplomb. When they were filming Nicholas Nickleby, her role had her holding a cat in one scene. The cat began scratching her, but she did not release him. Afterwards she scolded the cat. 'You tried to steal my scene. We are not filming Dick Whittington., '

Sadly Google Images has failed us, -- rare circumstance! -- in that though you can find a photograph of a cat Beaton photographed, most of the entries when you search, are selected based on the "cat" of catalog, and not much use to those who want to see Beaton's classic eye trained on felines. He does have two pages in Sally Eauclaire's The Cat in Photography (1990.)

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