Jeanne de Casalis and Tom Douglas in “Fata Morgana”. An Original Drawing by Cecil Beaton
Jeanne de Casalis and Tom Douglas in “Fata Morgana”. An Original Drawing by Cecil Beaton

Jeanne de Casalis and Tom Douglas in “Fata Morgana”. An Original Drawing by Cecil Beaton

£3,000.00

Cecil Beaton.

[1924.] Ink line drawing on ivory paper, signed. Paper size: 354 x 259 mm. English. 354 x 259mm. 1kg. . Very good; some light browning to surface around the margins, occasional light mark to surface, some small dots to top left corner, faint horizontal crease, short 2 cm crease at centre of top edge, tiny pin-prick holes to each corner, rough edge to left-hand side as if page has been cut from sketch book, remains of thin conservation tissue to verso.

An original early ink drawing by Cecil Beaton. The drawing depicts the actors Jeanne de Casalis and Tom Douglas in Fata Morgana, a play staged at the Ambassadors Theatre, London in 1924.  Beaton was only 20 years old when he created this drawing and was studying (not overly diligently) at Cambridge University at the time. His true focus remained on the theatre, both acting in the Cambridge ADC and designing the sets and costumes for numerous productions. He was also contributing sketches of his favourite actors and actresses to The Granta, then a Cambridge University magazine. The present drawing, with its Beardley-esque line, bears a similarity to the published The Granta illustrations. Echoes of the style, paper and pose of the figures can be seen in an early drawing held by the National Portrait Gallery of an Unknown Sitter (NPG D3640). The drawing bears Beaton's distinctive handwritten text for the title and signature. Beneath the ink drawing are traces of a preparatory pencil sketch. The position of de Casalis' legs and hands have been changed, as have Douglas' feet. Signed twice by Beaton, once as 'Beaton' and then as 'Cecil Beaton'. The dual-signing and pencil markings below the second signature, suggest that the young artist was experimenting with his autograph.