31 May 2007
The Book of Beauty. London: Duckworth, 1930. Quarto (287 x 225mm). 27 black and white photographs, colour frontispiece, numerous in-text line illustrations. Original white cloth, spine titled in gilt (light soiling).
FIRST EDITION, DELUXE ISSUE, ONE OF 110 COPIES SIGNED BY BEATON OF HIS FIRST BOOK, this one number 66. All the fine line-drawing portraits are also by Beaton. By the end of the 1920s Beaton had had sittings with all whom he aspired to photograph -- except Queen Mary and Virginia Woolf. Instead he included a line drawing of Woolf in this book, describing her as 'one of the most gravely distinguished-looking women I have ever seen', her beauty 'chaste and sombre'. Upon hearing of Woolf's anger at her inclusion in this book, Beaton quipped that her complaint 'should be addressed to her creator, who made her, rather than me'.
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