British Vogue and he soon became a noted photographer, dividing his time between fashion shoots (such as the one with the ladies dressed in gowns designed by Charles James above) and portrait sessions (such as the rest of the images in this post).
Among Beaton's numerous subjects, The British Royal Family stands out above all others in terms of class and substance in the photographer's catalogue of works. The elegance and grace of Beaton's Royal sitters and their surroundings probably suited him very well, and in many photographs the extravagance of the setting juxtaposed against the quiet and dignified Royals made for a striking combination.
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was his favorite among the Royal Family, and it reflects in the numerous portraits of her in the photographer's collection. Some of these early photographs would later become the primary inspiration for American photographer Annie Leibovitz when she was commissioned to take Queen Elizabeth's portraits in 2007. The resulting portraits are clearly in homage to Beaton's work.
Coincidentally, an upcoming exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum will be devoted to Beaton's portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and several members of the Royal Family. There will be close to a hundred photographs that will be displayed to coincide with Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
My Fair Lady. He would later on lend his hand in the film adaptation as well as the film musical Gigi and many others.
To learn more about Cecil Beaton and his photographs, check out the book Beaton: Portraits. Another good collection is Cecil Beaton: Photographs 1920-1970, although it's currently not available (as of this post). A new publication entitled Cecil Beaton: The New York Years will contain never before seen photographs from the 1930s to the 1960s.