Friday, November 28, 2014


In 1939 Cecil Beaton made several portrait-photographs of Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother). In the Buckingham Palace gardens they used the Summer House (above) and the Waterloo Vase (below) as scenic emblems of dynastic continuity.

Queen Elizabeth moved inside the Palace and changed into a Norman Hartnell "crinoline-dress" for the photos below.

Beaton's close-up features Queen Victoria's coronation necklace worn together with Queen Elizabeth's own coronation necklace. How vividly Beaton can be imagined arranging those ropes of enormous, unadorned diamonds above Hartnell's ruffles and sequins.

In the Beaton portrait below, taken 25 years later, Elizabeth is wearing Queen Alexandra's wedding necklace.

The final Beaton picture of the Queen Mother was taken in 1970, an azalea-printed tea dress against banks of azaleas.