19 October 2015

a Visit with Cecil...

Reddish House with its "lilac-coloured facade," with Cecil Beaton languishing by the door. This photo was just this size in the story, and reproducing it was- without great success-however I have tinted it to indicate a lilac brick. Still in all the brick is more-well- brick-coloured with a smidgen of that favourite-colour lilac, as seen in this photograph of Hamish Bowles at Reddish House paying homage to Beaton-Bowles is certainly a Beaton throw-back.

(Via Hamish's Instagam)

As I've been scouring old magazines and periodicals doing research for my book, I've been amazed at what I still haven't seen... If you follow instagram, pinterest, etc. etc. you know what I'm talking about. The wealth of photographs, new and old, and information (does anyone read anymore?) I do hope so. 

A VOGUE issue, circa 1949, some years after World War II, with rationing in Britain waning- bon vivant Cecil Beaton showed off his country house near Salisbury. Reddish House, according to Vogue's writer (not credited), CB himself ?-was one of Britain's most important 17th century small houses. Andre Kertesz was responsible for the photographs, and I must say nothing is amiss in the facade of Reddish House. It appears infinitely pleasing to my eye, and would be a perfect house to build today. Interesting to are the "colourless" photographs. Adjusting one's eye to a lack of colour details become more vivid. Later, and numerous photographs were taken of Reddish House in colour. They are out there. 

Note too, all Beaton's little extras, flowers in abundance, little chairs, stools, books in all his rooms. I wonder what his rooms were scented with? A Rose potpourri? I think so.

"a vest-pocket edition of a three volume novel"

Beaton's Drawing Room

"...with blackberry-coloured walls and banana-yellow curtains appliqued in red, its fine Aubusson rug, and Louis XV chairs," and a striped velvet sofa. Beaton famously photographed his favourite glamourous recluse, Greta Garbo sitting on this sofa-alone.

Look at Garbo's long hands... Beaton had added the pug, the fringe on the sofa, and gone chintz on the curtains.

In the drawing room, the 18th century deed to Reddish House is draped across a Louis XVI chair.

The Library

The Library was papered in sage green and gold accented by claret-coloured curtains. Noted in the story, Beaton papered the halls and bedrooms with period reproduction wallpapers in a white-with-black or brown design. Interesting.

"like a Balzac setting"

Beaton's Reddish House 30 years LATER with few changes in the Library. 
That- I Love-complete integrity in design.

Beaton's photographs of the library from Architectural Digest Celebrity Homes-1977

The Hall
Beaton used it for dining when entertaining a crowd- often no doubt.

..."coolly gray with marble columns, marble plaques, marble-topped William and Mary table, 18th century sculpture, and a screen made from a collection of 18th century equestrian prints. The curtains were "raspberry" velvet.

In the Master Bedroom a sepia and white print on the walls, bed hangings and lampshade.

This paper is the same as the library paper but in a different colour-way.

CB's Dressing Room

... drenched in a deep green wallpaper, the arrangement-pictures, paintings, and furniture- gave the room a touch of Victorian frivolity.

The Flower Room

Still-Life with Calla Lilies, Skull, and Gardening Gloves 
-and right out of a Tim Walker photo shoot.

 on the grounds- "with a manor-garden which includes a nut-walk, thatched roofed cottages and impeccable box topiary."

Idyllic, Reddish House is still the epitome of all that is good.

The article is littered with (-) hyphenated-words, and I have kept to that writing style in my text. Quotations indicate direct quotes from the article.


  1. LOVE this spread of Reddish and YES...Hamish IS Cecil and then some...and Garbos face says A MILLION WORDS...pucker faced as if sniffing an unseemly scent - not of roses - but of privacy invasion! Her purse strap is still over her shoulder, talk about a moments lack of relaxation upon the sofa...amazing! Gore Vidal once mentioned she asked him where was the Men's room...she had to tinkle...after she used it, he went in...the seat was up! Love her for all her beauty and quirkiness...a Unique!

    1. I agree Hamish Bowles is then some..such a bon vivant. Still in all I love Garbo, here insistance on "wanting to be alone" no matter how cliche is one lesson that could be taken by stars today. I get that need, and besides there could have been extreme reasons for her protecting her image. Smart lady. pgt

    2. I absolutely adore La Garbo, I meant her face said...WHAT, CANT I SIT FOR A MOMENT AND CUDDLE WITH THE BABY WITHOUT LOOKING UP TO SEE YOU SNAP AWAY...his delirious obsession with La Sphinx Divine is what ended their relationship...he published images he promised were for their eyes only. I vaguely recall he did a similar thing with Marchesa Casati at her lowest, in her tattered leopard furs and silks...rummaging thru the bins. Her images were in the windows of Harrods. Cannot wait for your book...2017 seems forever and away!!

  2. Gaye, I can never get enough of Cecil, his loves, his life, his living arrangements and the never ending photography that seems to keep surfacing for us to devour! Thank you!

    The Arts by Karena

    1. I so agree! as my multiple posts attest! what a gift he gave us. pgt

  3. Oh Gaye - This is Delecious-! Reddish is Devine - a far cry from "Ashcombe" that he loved so and then finally lost-!
    (just finish reading it) Reddish is so similar in it's structure - I'm sure he must have written about it in his memiors -
    I will look for sure.
    Hope your book is coming along great -! MMR

    1. MMR! ah, the book is slowly coming along, due to editorial changes etc etc, the book is now publishing 2017 Spring, however the written word is DONE, at least 99%. pgt

  4. This is total heaven! How perfect are those rooms!?! I could move in with my toothbrush and not change a thing! Atmosphere.....it is all about atmosphere.....and collections....and meaning of things.....Oh my!

  5. Garbo, as Swan says, does look like a terrible bore!!!!

    1. She does look bored, but I would not think a bore-at least Cecil adored her no end. pgt

  6. The lamp and lampshades company, Clare House that I worked for and then inherited in 1996 upon Miss Hanley's retirement at the age of 81 besides holding the Royal Warrants, made all the lamps and lampshades for Mr. Beaton.
    The company was started in 1947 by Elizabeth (Betty) Hanley, whose aunt was Fern Bedaux, the owner of Chateau Conde (where HRH the Duke of Windsor married Mrs. Simpson).
    Mr. Beaton was, apparently, 'marvellous client, with a great sense of colour and who paid his bils on time!'

    By the way.. Rationing was still very strictly in force in Britain in 1949 and continued until into 1953.

    1. GEEGEE, fascinating! and I have written about Fern Bedaux, Please search little augury if you want to read it! I would love to know more about Elizabeth Hanley, please tell me more! I did check just a little bit about rationing, and it does state that info as you have noted, yet it seemed the strictest were lifted on petrol, with adjustments, clothes, and bread. "Waning" yes, yet still enforced as you say. pgt

  7. CB would want you to include garden pics too.


    1. Oh, yes, there is the Flower room, but no photos in this 1949 issue of Vogue. His gardens were just as lovely indeed! pgt



Related Posts with Thumbnails