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Cecil Beaton

Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton CBE was an English fashion and war photographer, diarist and interior designer, an Oscar–winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre. Beaton was born on 14 January 1904 in Hampstead, the son of Ernest Walter Hardy Beaton, a prosperous timber merchant, his wife, Esther "Etty" Sisson, his grandfather, Walter Hardy Beaton, had founded the family business of "Beaton Brothers Timber Merchants and Agents", his father followed into the business. Ernest Beaton was an amateur actor and met his wife, Cecil's mother Esther, when playing the lead in a play, she was the daughter of a Cumbrian blacksmith named Joseph Sisson and had come to London to visit her married sister. Ernest and Etty Beaton had four children – Cecil. Cecil Beaton was educated at Heath Mount School and St Cyprian's School, where his artistic talent was recognised. Both Cyril Connolly and Henry Longhurst report in their autobiographies being overwhelmed by the beauty of Beaton's singing at the St Cyprian's school concerts.

When Beaton was growing up his nanny had a Kodak 3A Camera, a popular model, renowned for being an ideal piece of equipment to learn on. Beaton's nanny began developing film, he would get his sisters and mother to sit for him. When he was sufficiently proficient, he would send the photos off to London society magazines writing under a pen name and ‘recommending’ the work of Beaton. Beaton attended Harrow School, despite having little or no interest in academia, moved on to St John's College and studied history and architecture. Beaton continued his photography, through his university contacts managed to get a portrait depicting the Duchess of Malfi published in Vogue, it was George "Dadie" Rylands – "a out-of-focus snapshot of him as Webster's Duchess of Malfi standing in the sub-aqueous light outside the men's lavatory of the ADC Theatre at Cambridge." Beaton left Cambridge without a degree in 1925. After a short time in the family timber business, he worked with a cement merchant in Holborn.

This resulted in ` an orgy of photography at weekends'. Under the patronage of Osbert Sitwell he put on his first exhibition in the Cooling London, it caused. Believing that he would meet with greater success on the other side of the Atlantic, he left for New York and built up a reputation there. By the time he left, he had "a contract with Condé Nast Publications to take photographs for them for several thousand pounds a year for several years to come."From 1930 to 1945, Beaton leased Ashcombe House in Wiltshire, where he entertained many notable figures. In 1947, he bought Reddish House, set in 2.5 acres of gardens 5 miles to the east in Broad Chalke. Here he transformed the interior, adding rooms on the eastern side, extending the parlour southwards, introducing many new fittings. Greta Garbo was a visitor, he is buried in the churchyard. Beaton designed book jackets, costumes for charity matinees, learning the craft of photography at the studio of Paul Tanqueray, until Vogue took him on in 1927.

He set up his own studio, one of his earliest clients and best friends was Stephen Tennant. Beaton's photographs of Tennant and his circle are considered some of the best representations of the Bright Young People of the twenties and thirties. Beaton's first camera was a Kodak 3A folding camera. Over the course of his career, he employed both large format cameras, smaller Rolleiflex cameras. Beaton was never known as a skilled technical photographer, instead focused on staging a compelling model or scene and looking for the perfect shutter-release moment, he was a photographer for the British edition of Vogue in 1931 when George Hoyningen-Huene, photographer for the French Vogue travelled to England with his new friend Horst. Horst himself would begin to work for French Vogue in November of that year; the exchange and cross pollination of ideas between this collegial circle of artists across the Channel and the Atlantic gave rise to the look of style and sophistication for which the 1930s are known.

Beaton is known for his fashion photographs and society portraits. He worked as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue in addition to photographing celebrities in Hollywood. In 1938, he inserted some tiny-but-still-legible anti-Semitic phrases into American Vogue at the side of an illustration about New York society; the issue was recalled and reprinted, Beaton was fired. Beaton returned to England, he became a leading war photographer, best known for his images of the damage done by the German Blitz. His style sharpened and his range broadened, Beaton's career was restored by the war. Beaton photographed the Royal Family for official publication. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was his favourite royal sitter, he once pocketed her scented hankie as a keepsake from a successful shoot. Beaton took the famous wedding pictures of the Duchess of Windsor. During the Second World War, Beaton was first posted to the Ministry of Information and given the task o

Tom Spencer (politician)

Thomas Newnham Bayley Spencer is a British Conservative politician and former Member of the European Parliament. Spencer was educated at the University of Southampton, he served as Conservative MEP for Derbyshire from 1979–1984, Conservative MEP for Surrey West from 1989–1994, as Conservative MEP for Surrey from 1994-1999. He was leader of the UK Conservative MEPs from 1995 to 1998 and was Chairman of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee from 1997 to 1999, he decided not to stand for re-election to the European Parliament in 1999 after being found with gay pornography and two cannabis cigarettes in his luggage at Heathrow Airport. Spencer said that his wife was aware of that before they married. Spencer was in a relationship with pornographic actor Cole Tucker, depicted in the pornography found in Spencer's luggage

Charles Culling Smith

Charles Culling Smith, sometimes called Culling Charles Smith was a British politician and courtier. He was the son of Charles Smith, Governor of Madras, nephew of Sir Culling Smith, 1st Baronet. On 2 August 1799 he married Lady Anne Fitzroy, widow of the Hon. Henry Fitzroy and only daughter of Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington. By this marriage he gained two stepdaughters: Anne Caroline Fitzroy, died 16 December 1835 Georgiana Frederica Fitzroy, married 25 July 1814 Henry Somerset, Marquess of Worcester, with two daughters, his marriage to Lady Anne produced a further two children, a daughter and a son: Emily Frances Smith, married 29 June 1822 her half-sister's widower Lord Worcester, who succeeded his father as 7th Duke of Beaufort in 1835. They had six daughters. Frederick William Culling Smith, a godson of the Duke of York, he was made a Page of Honour on 13 March 1812 and commissioned as a Cornet in the 2nd Dragoon Guards on 22 April 1819. He transferred into the Coldstream Guards as an Ensign on 18 January 1820 and reached the rank of Lieutenant in that regiment before promotion to the Royal Horse Guards as a Captain on 2 January 1823.

On 1 August 1826 he was promoted to the rank of Major of Infantry on the unattached list, joined the 80th Regiment of Foot on 17 January 1828. He died at Malta that year, aged twenty-six. Charles Culling Smith and Lady Anne lived in a grace-and-favour residence at Apartment 8, Hampton Court Palace. Charles Culling Smith's brother-in-law, the Marquess Wellesley, became Foreign Secretary in the Tory government of Spencer Perceval in 1809, Culling Smith was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on 13 December that year, serving until 27 February 1812. On 1 June 1812 he was one of the Esquires to his brother-in-law the Earl of Wellington at the latter's installation as a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath. Culling Smith served as an equerry to the Duke of York, was present in that capacity at the funeral of Queen Charlotte on 8 December 1818, while his son was there as Page of Honour. On 14 August 1820 Culling Smith and his wife, son and step-daughters were among the mourners at the funeral of the Duchess of York.

His last service as equerry was at the Duke of York's funeral on 20 January 1827. On 13 March 1827 Culling Smith was made one of the Commissioners of the Board of Customs, but he continued to attend state occasions including the funeral of the Duke of Gloucester on 11 December 1834 and the Duke of Wellington on 18 November 1852