George Spencer Watson (1869–1934) - Portrait of Miss Beaton
Barbara Jessica Hardy Beaton
21 January 1912
|Died||18 March 1973 (aged 61)|
Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales
(m. 1934; died 1943)
|Parent(s)||Ernest Walter Hardy Beaton|
Esther "Etty" Sisson
|Relatives||Nancy Beaton (sister)|
Cecil Beaton (brother)
Barbara "Baba" Jessica Hardy Beaton (21 January 1912 – 18 March 1973) was an English socialite who, together with her sister Nancy Beaton, was known as one of the Beaton Sisters, and was included in The Book of Beauty by their brother, Cecil Beaton.
Barbara "Baba" Jessica Hardy Beaton was born on 21 January 1912, in London, the daughter of Ernest Walter Hardy Beaton (1867–1936), a timber merchant from Hampstead, and Esther "Etty" Sisson (1872–1962). Her paternal grandfather was Walter Hardy Beaton (1841–1904), founder of the family business "Beaton Brothers Timber Merchants and Agents".
Baba was one of the first models of her brother Cecil. A famous 1920 photo by Cecil Beaton depicts Baba Beaton, Wanda Baillie-Hamilton and Lady Bridget Poulett. According to her brother Cecil Beaton in The Book of Beauty (1930): "Baba is too wise to be young, and has the repose of archaic sculpture. She is like a Giotto painting with her classical features and limp spun hair like a mediaeval page’s, and though she is diminutively proportioned, with small pointed breasts, her little figure is so elongated that, on her, materials fall in vertical folds like the flutings on a Grecian column. I did not know that anyone could look so liltingly lyrical in a bathing costume as she. I stare a lot, watching the varying lights of day and night upon them. I see new unsuspected qualities in Baba as she sits against the lamp or by the light of the fire."
In May 1930 Baba Beaton was presented at court, she was dressed in an Empire cut mousseline de soie gown adorned with bands of opalescent paillettes. The other debutantes with her were: Eunice Bennett, Elizabeth Brinton Kent, Frances Stotesbury Hutchinson. Always in May, she was at the famous Mozart Party holds by David Tennant and his wife Hermione Baddeley; other guest included Lya de Putti, Miss Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, Lady Ankaret Jackson, Olivia Wyndham, Harry Melville.
In June 1932 Baba Beaton, together with Lady Bridget Poulett, Lady Patricia Moore, Jeanne Stourton, Molly Vaughan, Katherine Horlick, Margaret Livingstone-Learmonth and Priscilla Weigall, considered the among the most beautiful debutantes of 1932, were supposed to be the bridesmaids to the wedding of Miss Margaret Whigham to Charles Greville, 7th Earl of Warwick, but the engagement was broken in April. In the end she was the bridesmaid when Whigham married Charles Sweeney, an American golfer; with her other bridesmaids were: Lady Bridget Poulett, Sheila Berry, Jeanne Stourton, Margaret Livingstone-Learmonth, Angela Brett, Dawn Gold, Molly Vaughan and Pamela Nicholl.
On 20 March 1933 she was a model for the 24th Birthday Celebrations and opening of the new building of Selfridge's; it was advertized as a Fashion Premiere presented by Society Beauties, and the other models were: Lady Bridget Poulett, Betty Colclough, Dorothy Hyson, Averil Streatfield, Audrey Simpson, Peta Dundas, Hilary Charles, Mona Simpson and Pat Charles; directing the parades was Jeanne Stourton.
On 6 November 1934 she married Major Alec Hambro (7 July 1910 - 8 August 1943), the son of Angus Valdimar Hambro, M.P. for North Dorset Divn., and Rosamund Maud Kearsley, of Blandford, Dorsetshire. Baba Beaton's wedding dress was designed by Charles James, a very modern interpretation of the white wedding dress, with a raised neckline and divided train.
Baba and Alec had two daughters, Alexandra, born 5 August 1935 (now Mrs Michael Lamb), and Rosamund, born 27 September 1939 (now Lady Gladstone), married Sir William Gladstone, 7th Baronet.
In 1934 George Spencer Watson took the portrait, "Baba" Beaton, Mrs. Alec Hambro.
Alec Hambro was killed in action during World War II, while serving with the Reconnaissance Corps. He is buried in Tripoli War Cemetery and a memorial is at Milton Abbey in Dorset. Baba Beaton died on 18 March 1973 in Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales.
- Beaton, Cecil (1933). The Book Of Beauty. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- Vickers, Hugo (1999). "Obituary: Nancy, Lady Smiley". The Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- Vickers, Hugo (1985), Cecil Beaton: The Authorised Biography, Phoenix Press
- "Cecil Beaton". Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "Photo exhibit leads to touching romantic journey - 23 Jan 2013, Wed • [First Edition] • Page 19". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: 19. 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "All dressed up to meet the King and Queen - 23 May 1930, Fri • Page 5". Miami Daily News-Record: 5. 1930. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "Mozart Fancy Dress Concert is Picturesque - 31 May 1930, Sat • Page 52". The Winnipeg Tribune: 52. 1930. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "Engagement of Debutante to Earl is Broken - 23 Apr 1932, Sat • Page 38". The Winnipeg Tribune: 38. 1932. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "26 Mar 1933, Sun • Page 21". Hartford Courant: 21. 1933. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "Selfridge's 24th Birthday Celebrations - 19 Mar 1933, Sun • Page 22". The Observer: 22. 1933. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- "An English Beauty to Wed - 14 Oct 1934, Sun • Page 93". Chicago Tribune: 93. 1934. Retrieved 23 January 2018.