England's mid-20th century socialites through the eyes of Cecil Beaton

Story highlights

  • Cecil Beaton was one of the 20th century's most famous portraitist
  • He's best known for taking Queen Elizabeth II's official coronation portrait
  • Beaton's photos of socialite Deborah Devonshire and her friends go on display in March

(CNN)Celebrated portraitist Cecil Beaton is renowned for his images of Queen Elizabeth II and Golden Age Hollywood starlets including Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.

But when he wasn't photographing stars for the likes of Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines, he turned his lens on his wealthy friends, capturing the glamorous lives of England's aristocrats and socialites.
One of his favorite subjects was Deborah Devonshire, the youngest of the six infamous Mitford sisters whose stylish, sometimes scandalous exploits dominated the English society pages in the mid-20th century.
    From March 19, about 65 of Beaton's photos of the socialite and her friends (including Fred Astaire and Lucian Freud) will go on display at Chatsworth House, the sprawling estate in central England, where Devonshire lived from 1959 until her death in 2014.
    Titled "Never a Bore," the exhibition will also include the photographer's thoughts on his subjects, as well as some of Devonshire's personal items and letters.
    Look through the gallery above for a glimpse into the bygone world of Britain's upper class.