BEATON’S WWII TRIBUTE TO THE “RESILIENCE OF THE PEOPLE” OF ENGLAND, FIRST EDITION OF AIR OF GLORY, 1941, WITH OVER 140 PHOTOGRAVURES
BEATON, Cecil. Air of Glory. A Wartime Scrapbook. London: His Majesty’s Stationary Office, (1941). Quarto, original red cloth, original photographic dust jacket. $850.
First edition of Beaton’s “highly praised” photobook of England under siege, published two years into the war, with over 140 black-and-white photogravures, scarce in original dust jacket.
Cecil Beaton achieved early acclaim as one of England’s most famous portraitists, “renowned for the glamour and elegance of his photographs” (Abrams, 208). During WWII, however, “in a phase of his career far removed from its usual glamorous milieu, Beaton documented air-raid damage in London” (Lenman, 69), producing images that pay tribute, as he notes here, to “the resilience of the people and their unconsciousness of the fact that they are brave.” Beaton’s photographs were immediately and “highly praised, the most famous being of a little girl, a victim of the London bombing raids by the Nazis, lying in a hospital bed with a bandage around her head and a doll in her arms” (McDarrah, 34). Captions by Rosamond Lehmann.
Book fine, images clean and fresh; light soiling, edge-wear, one small closed tear to spine end of dust jacket. A near-fine copy.