Beaton's taste and style showcased at open gardens

Salisbury Journal: Reddish House Reddish House

AS Salisbury enjoys two exhibitions offering a glimpse into the world of society photographer Cecil Beaton, the garden of his lavish Wiltshire home will be opened to the public for the first time in five years.

Broad Chalke is hosting a Charity Open Gardens event on June 22, and Beaton’s former home, Reddish House, is one of the properties involved.

Beaton bought the house in the 1940s and lived there until his death in 1980. He spent time creating sumptuous interiors and gardens, which reflect both his extravagant tastes and his flair for design.

The garden is very large with a slope you can climb for a fantastic view of the main house and cottage, as well as out over the fields and the village.

Organiser Ian Nason said: “What I like about this garden is there are so many little extras.

“I like gardens with nooks and crannies you can explore. Some people probably won’t go any further than Reddish House because you could spend hours just wandering round this garden.”

Beaton was described as “one of Britain’s most successful exports of the 20th century” and was in high demand as a photographer for magazines and as a Broadway set designer, royal photographer and writer.

He photographed the Queen Mother, Winston Churchill, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe and was at the forefront of the fashion world, winning many awards for his designs.

His private life was as eventful as his public, including a complicated affair with Hollywood actress Greta Garbo.

There are seven properties in the event, including the King’s Old Rectory, another house with a Beaton connection. Beaton photographed Garbo on a bridge in the garden, which you can walk across.

Mr Nason said: “The great thing is we have got a real variety of gardens, big, medium and small. Everyone should have somewhere they can enjoy, a garden they can relate to and get ideas from.”

The reception will be in the village hall, where people can purchase tickets and get refreshments.

The profits from the refreshments will go to Chalke Valley Playschool, which is entirely funded by donations, and the entry fee proceeds will be given to Horatio’s Garden, the Salisbury District Hospital charity which provides a rehabilitation garden for patients in the spinal unit.

The event runs from 2pm to 5pm and costs £4 per person, free for children under 13.

l Cecil Beaton at Wilton is a photography exhibition at Wilton House from Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Studio Archive. It is open until September 14.

l Cecil Beaton at Ashcombe and Reddish is an exhibition about Beaton’s time at his two Wiltshire retreats, being held at Salisbury Museum.

The exhibition opens tomorrow and runs until September 19.

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