Cecil Beaton's scrapbooks found gathering dust in Sotheby's archive

Newly uncovered images by one of the 20th Century's most revered photographers are set to be published for the first time next month, after a unique collection of Cecil Beaton's scrapbooks was found in an archive.

For decades, volumes containing many thousands of pictures collec-ted by Beaton had been gathering dust on the back room shelves at Sotheby's.

They included not only prints of his own work as staff photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue during the golden age of celebrity – and later official photographer to the Royal Family – but also cuttings from magazines and newspapers that had provided his research and inspiration. The auction house purchased the books shortly before his death in 1980 but despite offering a fascinating insight their significance was only realised last year.

Cecil Beaton: The Art of the Scrapbook is available next month at www.shopassouline.com