Despite a long career and a list of subjects which can be described as “everyone” without excessive rounding up, the name of British photographer Angus McBean (1904-1990) is known to relatively few. If you were to then narrow those cognoscenti down to a subset of people who both love Angus McBean’s work and have large amounts of spare cash, you’re looking at a very select few. But it’s highly likely that all of them will be aware of this. A major auction, that is, of McBean-related works taking place this Friday. Naturally it includes numerous photographs bearing his signature amalgam of beauty and oddity (including what seems like thousands of studies of Vivien Leigh), as well as McBean’s famous Christmas cards, props, books and ephemera. They are being offered for sale by McBean’s partner David Ball (the pair are seen at left of the photo above).
One of the most outstanding lots is McBean’s visitor’s book, a volume full of hyperfamous scrawls. Whose? Oh, just Tennessee Williams, Maria Callas, T.S. Eliot, Marlene Dietrich, Richard Burton, all four Beatles. No one really. You can browse the catalogue (PDF) here.