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Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Buckingham Palace (photographed)

  • Date:

    1945 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Beaton, Cecil (Sir), born 1904 - died 1980 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    photography

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed to the Museum in 1987 by Eileen Hose, secretary to the photographer

  • Museum number:

    PH.6745-1987

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 914, box R

Physical description

Photograph depicting Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret, Buckingham Palace, 1945. Princess Elizabeth; three-quarter length, seated to left, with her hands held together in her lap. Princess Margaret; three-quarter length, standing behind her elder sister. Princess Margaret's hands are placed upon her sister's shoulders. Both are wearing a pale chiffon gowns and double-string pearl necklaces. They look towards a point beyond the camera in contemplation. A backdrop depicts an enlarged and adapted section of an unidentified winter scene; which Beaton reported in his diary as being a work by the British painter Reginald John [Rex] Whistler (1905-1944).

Place of Origin

Buckingham Palace (photographed)

Date

1945 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Beaton, Cecil (Sir), born 1904 - died 1980 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

photography

Marks and inscriptions

'Guide'. This word is underlined.
Written in pencil on reverse.

'B301-10'
Written in pencil on reverse.

Dimensions

Width: 18.6 cm image, Height: 24.4 cm image, Width: 18.6 cm paper, Height: 24.4 cm paper

Object history note

[Catalogue entry] in: Whistler, Laurence. The Work of Rex Whistler. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1960. p. 91, cat. no. 560.

Laurence records the following in reference to a version of the backdrop by Rex Whistler used in this image within the category: 'Periodicals: Illustrations and Decorations':

'The Tatler
November 22nd 1935

"Winter": a full-page drawing. A wintry scene with skaters on a pond in the middle distance. In the foreground, reclining on a cartouche inscribed "Winter", an aged nude man, his left arms resting on a jar from which water pours and freezes into icicles on the edge of the cartouche. A rook on a leafless bough above him. The whole in a frame twined with barren twigs. The reproduction was used by Cecil Beaton as a background for a photographic portrait of the music hall artist, Miss Nellie Wallace, and for others."'

Descriptive line

Royal Portrait by Cecil Beaton (1904-1980). Photograph depicting Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret Buckingham Palace, 1945.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Strong, Roy C. Cecil Beaton: the royal portraits. London: Thames and Hudson, c1988. p. 20

Labels and date

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, Buckingham Palace
March 1945

Wearing a delicate star-patterned dress, Princess Elizabeth posed with her sister against another elaborate backdrop. It depicts a winter scene, painted in the style of Rex Whistler (1905–44). The art historian Sir Roy Strong suggests that the portrait of Princess Elizabeth clad in a gossamer gown beside a frozen lake was intended to show her as the harbinger of spring, the herald of a new beginning.

Gelatin silver prints
V&A: Ph.6745-1987; Ph.420-1987
[2012]

Production Note

Cecil Beaton photographed members of the royal family from 1930-1979.

Materials

Paper

Techniques

Gelatin silver process; Photography

Categories

Photographs; Portraits; Royalty

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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