Although in his lifetime Cecil Beaton - royal photographer and theatrical designer - published six short volumes of his diaries he was shy hurting the feelings of those he wrote about. Hugo Vickers has gone back to the originals to produce the Beaton diaries as they were written. Beaton records a vigorous social life among hostesses such as Emerald Cunard and Sybil Colefax, performers including Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn (on the not wholly successful Alan Jay Lerner-Andre Previn musical, COCO) and Marlene Dietrich, as well as artists from Cocteau and Picasso to Bacon and the young Hockney. Running through the diaries are his friendships with the Queen Mother, with Diana Cooper and Greta Garbo. In the unexpurgated edition Vickers shows what Beaton really had to say about those with whom he worked. He could be waspish, even brutal. His diaries are frank and uninhibited.
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Susan has secured a fantastic serial deal with the Sunday Times, so there was a strict embargo until Monday 23rd September. Because of this I've given the book a press date of 10th October. The serial has now run, and was great. The Daily Mail followed this up with a big feature on 23rd September and Vanity Fair are running an extract on their November issue. Hugo was interviewed on the Today programme (BBC Radio 4) on 25th September.Other interviews confirmed include BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Leicester, BBC Radio Leeds, Brian Morton Show (BBC Radio Scotland) and Robert Elms Show (BBC London). Hugo will also be recording the BBC Radio 4 words quiz with Frank Delaney on 16th October. Hugo has also signed stock at Hatchards, Waterstones Piccadilly and Books Etc., Oxford Street. Hugo Vickers has also done a number of talks - the Cheltenham Festival (16 October), the Guildhall in Windsor (24 Sept.), and Methvensin Windsor (28th Jan. '03). He also took part in an English Speaking Union Literary Lunch at Chartwell, Kent on 26 October. There is interest from Conde Nast for one for their Ralph Lauren evenings and from the V&A. He will bespeaking at in the State Apartments at St. James's Palace on 4th February 2003, in aid of Sargent Cancer Care for Children. Hugo has written an 800 word piece on the Beaton diaries which will appear in the Savoy Style magazine when it comes out at the end of September. Reviews received include: Daily Mail (Duchess of Devonshire), The Week, Evening Standard (Beaton was mentioned in a piece on diaries by Sarah Dunant), Sunday Times (Humphrey Carpenter), Country Life (Roy Strong), Gay Times, TLS (Peter Parker), Evening Standard (Alexander Walker), Daily Telegraph, What's On In London, Inside E (Canada) Expectedreviews: Mail on Sunday, The first review has come in...'...thanks to biographer Hugo Vickers, you can now revel in his acerbic take on twentieth centuryhigh society.'Marie Claire 'I found myself totally gripped by the whole book. Beaton's life had its share of glamour and grime, and from the age of seventy-five, disabled and frail, he was back at work in Paris photographing a special issue of French Vogue. 'I must keep cool and not cool off,' he writes, and it seems that, despite everything, he never did.'Patrick O'Connor, Literary Review 'This new volume contains selections from the unpublished diaries ofonly the last decade of Beaton's life and includes all the bitchiness he edited out of the extracts he published when he was alive.'Alexander Chancellor,Sunday Telegraph 'Like all great diarists Beaton has the essential qualitiesof candour and unflinching honesty...The later, not entirely literate diaries make for painful, almost unbearably moving reading. Yet Vickers was right to publish them for the first time as they show a surprising sweetness of character which finally emerged from underneath the notoriously brittle shell.'Hugh Massingberd, Spectator '...the diaries...provide a unique and revealing perspective...A joy of this book is the editor's linking passages, which offer a running commentary, gently steering the reader through the exalted pages ofthe Almanac de Gotha and the gossip columns of Eurotrash alike. They exhibita waspishness of their own - which makes one wonder what revelations Hugo Vickers's diaries might have in store.'Philip Hoare, The Independent
About Cecil Beaton
Hugo Vickers is a biographer, lecturer and broadcaster, specialising in the twentieth century. His most recent biography, of the Duke of Edinburgh's mother, Princess Andrew of Greece, was published in 2000. His book, The Kiss, won the Stern Silver Pen for Non-Fiction in 1996. Vickers was invited to become Cecil Beaton's authorised biographer in 1979, and two days after he started work Beaton died. His biography was published in 1985 and has just been reissued for the sixth time. Since 1987, he has served as Beaton's literary executor. He is retained by ITN as its royalty consultant. Hugo Vickers is married and lives in Hampshire with his wife and three children.
The Unexpurgated Beaton by Cecil Beaton
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