Cecil Beaton: special exhibition at the Imperial War Museum

Winston Churchill by Cecil BeatonThere are still a few days left to see the exhibition of Cecil Beaton’s photography at the Imperial War Museum in London. It lasts until 1 January.

The evocative wartime photographs are, as you would expect, centre stage in the exhibition. But what really caught my interest was his personal story of disgrace and recovery: sacked and pilloried in the late 1930s for adding anti-Semitic phrases to a cartoon, his rehabilitation started with a commission from the Royal Family and he then went on to take some of the most famous and iconic photographs of Britain’s role in the Second World War.

A selection of Beaton’s photographs are available to view online on the Imperial War Museum’s website, though this is really no substitute for seeing what is a very well designed exhibition, making good use of space, light and scale to maximise the impact of the photos. The positioning of one print, lining up the prow of a ship with an angle in the wall, is particularly effective.

A very enjoyable and educational hour or two can be spent going round this exhibition.

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