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Sotheby’s will be the principal lender to the National Portrait Gallery’s show, having bought the Beaton archive from the great photographer when he approached them in 1977.

Since that time, Sotheby’s have been the majority holder of the archive, owning the largest number of the photographer’s vintage prints, negatives and copyrights.

Beaton at Large will present the photographer’s work in the context of the 21st century. To this end, Sotheby’s will print images on a grand scale. The exhibition will focus on the glamorous and stylish and will include fashion shots and society and celebrity portraits, as well as a selection of photographs taken at Beaton’s various homes. A group of vintage prints will draw the visitor’s attention to the impact that scale can have on a photograph, and Beaton’s original scrapbooks will provide an insight into the themes and images that inspired him.

Beaton’s work spans six decades, from the “bright young things” of the 1920s to the heady days of the 1970s, and includes portraits of the rich and famous, from Rex Whistler and Marlene Dietrich to the Rolling Stones.