Cecil Beaton, The Strenuous Years, Diaries: 1948-55
Fortunately, strenuous does not mean boring, and these years are some of Cecil Beaton’s most fascinating. He has a new maturity and purpose as he expands and adds depth to his career. His society friendships remain, but his insight into them—always perceptive—becomes even better. Entries on the deaths of Emerald Cunard and Duff Cooper are particularly good. He also covers his feud with the Laurence Oliviers, ongoing pursuit of an elusive Greta Garbo, and emergence as the official photographer of the British royal family.
“For most of us—if we are fortunate—each day seems to help us, even a little, along the road we have chosen to take. Often the ‘going’ is pleasant, and so beguiled are we by the interest on the wayside that we hardly notice that we are travelling.”