Photographer, Visual Artist
1892 – 1939
Who was Hugh Cecil?
Born in Kington upon Thames to Frederick Atkinson Saunders and his wife Mary Ann Roberta Walton, Hugh Cecil Saunders attended Tonbridge School and Queens' College Cambridge where he developed an interest in photography. At the Cambridge Photographic Society, he exhibited a number of landscapes, some of which won medals.
Upon graduation, Saunders served as an apprentice with the prominent Sevenoaks photographer H. Essenhigh Corke. In 1912 he moved to London and, dropping his surname, set up as a professional portrait photographer at 100 Victoria Street. He married Kathleen Fairchild Huxtable in December 1989 in her hometown of Tunbridge Wells.
Hugh Cecil's photographs appeared regularly in the weekly The Sketch, Tatler and [Bystander] magazines, and his reputation as a fashionable photographer quickly grew. His early style was characterised by an elegant simplicity. Cecil moved to 8 Grafton Street in 1923—designing and furnishing an elaborately decorated studio, he often used patterned backdrops and lit the subject using soft reflected light. Cecil Beaton claims he was influenced by the style of Baron De Meyer.
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