Cecil BeatonTwo Autograph Letters Signed, with descriptions for Look magazine photographs, and one typescript unsigned.
Beaton writes two work related letters to Peter Van Slingerland, a “staff writer” for Look Magazine, on "The Drake" hotel stationery, New York, undated. Beaton stayed at The Drake hotel in 1956 when he photographed Marilyn Monroe there. He was also staying at the hotel in 1961 when he sketched a costume design for the Metropolitan Opera’s production of "Turandot" (in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum). In the Sept. 1, 1959 (Volume 23, no. 18) issue of Look Magazine, Beaton's photographs of Japan were published. The group offered here is related to that issue.
Beaton writes that he is," Pleased with the choice of your layout & am sending you suggested captions for one or two of the pictures...." He refers to his "forthcoming book Japanese," which was published in 1959. He signs, "Cecil Beaton, " on the second page of the bifold hotel stationery.
Beaton includes two pages of descriptions for the Look article in the letter which begins, "I trust you will be able to use some of the enclosed suggestions for captions - I shall be sad if you don't include the picture of the Kimono's being tried [sic] by the Katsma River...." This one page letter on bifold Drake hotel stationery is also signed in full, "Cecil Beaton." The enclosed four page descriptions of his photographs were Beaton's suggestions for his photographs' captions and offer offer his view of his own work. "The Geisha's Kimono is sprinkled with flowers that change with the season - orange leaves & crysanthemums [sic] appear with autumn, apple blossom petals with the end of winter - Yet the Geisha fashions remain unchanged...this object de vitrine has an abiding allure...The make-up is traditional & never varies...she has perfected the art of being entertaining and alluring. These Cezanne-[like formations are the mountains seen on the road to Nikko...The monochrome effect is typical of Japan as it is in reality though unlike the picturesque interpretation we see. We see a sudden snow fall descent on the elaborate roofs of the temples of Nikko...curved, carved and gilded...painted with scarlet lacquer...The men shoveling the snow appear as if in fancy dress...This is great sightseeing...Perhaps the book will yield more specific information." The undated typescript is the letter and descriptions typed on "Look" magazine stationery, titled, "Letter and information from Cecil Beaton, Drake hotel, NYC."
The enclosed descriptions were written on both sides of one 4to sheet of Drake Hotel stationery and on two sides of a bifold sheet of one 8vo page of hotel stationery.
Beaton known primarily as a photographer was also an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for film and theater. As photographer, Beaton wrote to Peter Van Slingerland, “staff writer” for Look Magazine who authored a number of articles in the late 1950s and 1960s. He is known for his 1966 book, “Something Terrible Has Happened: The Account of the Sensational Thalia Massie Affair” about a woman raped in Hawaii. The victim's mother, a socialite, was charged and convicted of murdering the man who was believed to have been the rapist. Clarence Darrow defended the mother who served no time for the crime.