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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the photographer's estate.

  • Literature

    Vogue, 1 June 1948 (color variant), pp. 112-113
    Metropolitan Museum of Art, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, cover, pp. 36-37 (color variant)
    Garner and Mellor, Cecil Beaton: Photographs 1920-1970, p. 76
    Chronicle Books, Woman: A Celebration, p. 53

  • Catalogue Essay

    This iconic Cecil Beaton image encapsulates the elegance of the 1940s. Wearing Charles James’ architecturally sculpted gowns, the models, Dorry Adkins, Marilyn Ambrose, Lily Carlson, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Andrea Johnson and Dorian Leigh, casually pose together in 18th century luxury. Taken from a famous Cecil Beaton quote, and used to emphasize James’ revolutionary process, The Metropolitan Museum of Art titled their 2014 exhibition Charles James: Beyond Fashion.

  • Artist Biography

    Cecil Beaton

    British • 1904 - 1980

    Cecil Beaton was a highly celebrated British photographer who is perhaps best known for taking portraits of the colorful celebrities who composed the fashionable society of early-mid twentieth century London, all of whom were within his social circle. According to an autobiographical account, Cecil Beaton's relationship with photography began as a boy when he fell in love with picture postcards of the Edwardian theater actress Miss Lily Elsie. He took up photography at a young age, using his sisters Nancy and Baba as his primary subjects. Initially, Beaton sought to emulate pictures he saw in fashion magazines, especially the soft-focus technique used by Baron Adolphe de Meyer.


    In 1929 he moved to New York after signing a contract with American Vogue. Throughout the 1930s Beaton traveled extensively as a portrait photographer, spending time in Hollywood amongst the glitter and glamour of Hollywood film stars. When the Second World War began and focus turned towards its dangers and devastations, Queen Elizabeth II commissioned Beaton to document the ravages of the German blitz.  Following the War, in addition to taking photographs, in the late 1950s into the 1960s Beaton was involved in film as a stage and costume designer.  During this time, he designed the costume and set for the stage version of My Fair Lady (New York, 1956; London, 1958) and the film Gigi (1958). 

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Charles James Dresses

Gelatin silver print, printed 2014.
19 x 23 in. (48.3 x 58.4 cm)
Sotheby's Cecil Beaton Studio Archive and copyright credit stamp on the verso. One from an edition of 80.

$5,000 - 7,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

+1 212 940 1245

Tailor-Made: Fashion Photographs from the Collection of Peter Fetterman

Online Auction 18 - 25 June 2020