Ashcombe. The Story of a Fifteen-Year Lease

Ashcombe. The Story of a Fifteen-Year Lease

Cecil Beaton.

London. B. T. Batsford Ltd. 1949. First edition. Red cloth hardback, dust jacket. [viii], 124 pages. Colour frontispiece, hors-texte plates with photographs and drawings by Beaton, text illustrations by Beaton, Rex Whistler, Christian Berard and others. The dust jacket is reproduced from a painting of Ashcombe by Rex Whistler. 220 x 150mm (8 x 6"). .4kg. . English Very good; rubbing to edges and spine of dust jacket, tear along front fold of spine, small 0.5-1 cm areas of loss at head and tail of spine, fading to spine; browning to endpapers, spotting to fore-edge, ex libris bookplate on front pastedown, not price-clipped.

A first edition copy of Cecil Beaton's record of his famous country house, with the original dust jacket. '"Ashcombe" is the name of the country house in the Wiltshire Downs whose lease Cecil Beaton held for fifteen years from 1930. In this book Mr. Beaton has wonderfully succeeded in recreating the atmosphere of those days: the period when the house and garden were being made over from their former unkempt and derelict state into the idyllic home which they later became; the day-to-day life of the house and of the servants and friends who did so much to create the atmosphere; the week-ends, when there would be visits from Rex Whistler, Edith Olivier, Augustus John, Tilly Losch, Lord David Cecil, and so many others; and the parties and fetes-champetres, occasions which are likely never to be forgotten either by the guests or their host' (from the blurb).
Beaton was said to be heartbroken when his lease to Ashcombe expired in 1945 and this book is his ode to the house and the good-times experienced there. In 2001 the house was purchased by Madonna and Guy Richie.