Royal Presentation Portrait of H.R.H. Princess Margaret, 1956
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Overall: 31.5cm (12.5in) x 22.5cm (9in)
Provenance: Air Vice Marshall Sir Edward 'Mouse' Fielden, Captain of the King's Flight/Queen's Flight
A head and shoulders black and white portrait, ink signed and dated 1956 by the sitter and additionally signed to the mount in pencil by the photographer Cecil Beaton. Contained in original easel backed blue morocco glazed frame by Jarrolds Walter Jones Sloane Street SW1, and embossed with the princess’s personal cypher.
Sir Cecil Beaton, C.B.E. (1904-80) ranks amongst the most important photographers of the 20th century, and is best known for his fashion photographs and society portraits. He worked as a staff photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue in addition to photographing celebrities in Hollywood. He was further acclaimed as stage and screen costume and set designer on both sides of the Atlantic, earning himself Academy Awards in 1958 and 1968.
He was educated at Heath Mount School (where he was bullied by Evelyn Waugh), at Harrow and St John’s College Cambridge. Having rejected the security of paid employment in his family’s timber business, he joined Vogue in 1927 and set up his own studio. One of his earliest clients was the flamboyant society figure Stephen Tennant. Beaton's photographs of Tennant and his circle are considered some of the best representations of the Bright Young People of the twenties and thirties. During the Second World War he was employed by the Ministry of Information and produced influential images of the war on the home front. Beaton often photographed the Royal Family for official publication.
A.V.M. Sir Edward Fielden (1903-76) had been the pre-war personal pilot to both the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) and his brother King George VI and had formed, in 1942, No 161 Squadron, a unit designated for Special Operations Executive (SOE) clandestine missions. As such he continued to accompany His Majesty when he flew taking time off from his duties as O.C. No 161 Squadron and later as Station Commander, R.A.F. Tempsford. With the end of World War Two the the King's Flight was reformed in May 1946 with Fielden once again at the helm as Captain. Following the King's death in 1952, the Flight was renamed The Queen's Flight. Air Commodore Fielden remained as Captain of the Queen's Flight until he retired on 1 January 1962, when he was promoted to Air Vice Marshal and appointed Senior Air Equerry to The Queen.