Lot 14. Barbara Beaton (1912-1973) and Cecil Beaton (1904-1980)

Sold:£ 22 500
Auction date:24.09.2020   06:00 UTC +01:00
ID 403041
Lot 14 | Barbara Beaton (1912-1973) and Cecil Beaton (1904-1980)
[BARBARA BEATON (1912-1973) and CECIL BEATON (1904-1980)]. Scrapbook presented to Olga Lynn, n.p. [London and elsewhere], ‘Christmas 1933’ [1920s-1940s].

The Bright Young Things: a scrapbook documenting the glittering world of 1930s high society captured in photographs by Cecil Beaton, prepared for Olga ‘Oggie’ Lynn (1882-1961) by Barbara ‘Baba’ Beaton and her brother. Oggie’s scrapbook offers a personal view of the gilded circle of friends – many recognisable from Beaton’s 1930 Book of Beauty – with whom they attended parties, went on holiday, presented lavish stage productions and posed in elaborate recreations of Old Master paintings.

Olga 'Oggie Lynn' was a great friend of Oliver Messel and attended all his parties. As Anne, Countess of Rosse (Oliver’s sister and Lord Snowdon’s mother) remembered 'She had a rather sweet, pure little voice ... She was inclined to get into situations with which she could not cope and was always being helped by her friends. Oliver was chief rescuer. When she was not engaged in giving singing lessons she could often be found singing to the guests at Oliver’s parties' (C. Castle, Oliver Messel, London, 1986, p.79). It is probable that this album was given to Oliver in appreciation of the help he had given her.

Olga famously shared a house with the actresses Tallulah Bankhead, Gladys Cooper and Lady Idina Gordon (later Sackville who immortalised the Happy Valley set) alongside 'droves of servants and other tokens of affluence beyond [Tallulah's] purse' (see T. Bankhead, Tallulah: My Autobiography, New York, 1952, p. 132).

Despite the difference in age, much like her contemporary Edith Olivier, Oggie Lynn adored her group of young fashionable friends and she was a staple part of 1930s society. Her friend Cecil Beaton, who helped create the present lot, writing in The Times after her death in 1957, said of her:

'An animateuse, she was not only a born hostess but a born guest. In the 1930s she became particularly indispensable, and lived in a glitter of Christian names. She enlarged her capacity for organizing entertainment; music benefited by the concerts she arranged, and charity by her pageants and tableaux vivants.'

408 x 285mm. Containing c.87 original photographs and c.101 reproduction prints and cuttings, chiefly comprising portraits of members of society, artistic productions and tableaux staged by the same, parties and society events, and related images; including a photograph signed by Cecil Beaton (‘To darling Oggie/ Best Love from Cecil’) and another signed ‘from Cecil’ in red pen on a slip pasted beneath; a printed portrait signed in pencil by Lady Idina Sackville (1893-1955); a Hugh Cecil photograph of a young woman signed ‘Elsie/1925’; a print of John Julius Cooper, later 2nd Viscount Norwich, signed by his grandmother, Violet, Duchess of Rutland (‘For dear Oggie from VR, Jan 1993’); a photograph signed and inscribed by Gertrude ‘Gertie’ Lawrence, 1925 (1898-1952; actress and musical performer); a Paul Hesse photograph of Lady Diana Cooper (1892-1986); a print signed by Evelyn and Charles B. Cochran (1872-1951; theatre manager and impresario); a photograph signed and inscribed by Napier Sturt, 3rd Baron Alington (1896-1940; tipped in, card mount); a photograph signed and inscribed by Sir Michael Duff (1907-1980), also signed ‘Beaton’ in red pen on the mount (tipped in, card mount); a photograph signed by Audrey Pleydell-Bouverie (1902-1968), 1942 (tipped in); a photograph signed and inscribed by Viola Tree (1884-1938), 1922 (tipped in); further signed photographs and prints; and a series of photographs taken at the ‘Olympian Party’ in aid of the Greater London Fund for the Blind at Claridge’s, 1935 (approximately half of the original photographs loosely tipped in, one of the photographs cropped, the mount of the Michael Duff photograph darkened and torn (repaired), certain of the photographs loose from their adhesive, some cockling to the scrapbook leaves and thumbing at edges, a couple of pages torn or tattered, not affecting photographs). Decorative hand-painted card covers over canvas, bound by Charles Fox, 5 George St., spine lettered ‘OGGIES CHRISTMAS PRESENT FROM BARBARA 1933’ (a little scuffed and bumped at edges).

Information about the auction

Address of auction
8 King Street, St. James's
SW1Y 6QT London
United Kingdom
Preview04.09.2020 - 24.09.2020
ConditionsBuyer Premium
Conditions of purchase
    Payment methods