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Having a Wonderful Time with Slim Aarons

Renata Boeck enjoying breakfast in bed at the Regency Hotel in New York, 1964. I came upon Slim Aarons’ work this morning, and although I had see...

Renata Boeck enjoying breakfast in bed at the Regency Hotel in New York, 1964.

I came upon Slim Aarons’ work this morning, and although I had seen his chronicling of all things famous and aristocratic from the ’50s to the ’70s, it was only today that I realized how deep his trove of work really is.

Aarons is perhaps most well known for his 1974 cult favorite book A Wonderful Time: An Intimate Portrait of the Good Life, which surveys castles, chalets, motor boats and villas that house beautiful people doing glamorous things. Aarons was born in modest circumstances in the beginning of the century in New Hampshire, and thus embodies the outsider photographer looking in. He built his image archive through his work for Vogue, Town and Country, Life, Holiday, and Travel and Leisure Magazine after beginning his career as a war photographer during WWII.

These portraits are glittering and fascinating and I can’t get enough of them. Have a look-see. See if you’re not in the mood for Rio when you’re done. Or a Capote novel.

Circa 1960:  German born American architect Mies Van Der Rohe (1886 – 1969) on the rooftop of a skyscraper in Chicago. 

Film star Joan Collins relaxes with her pink poodle on her pink bed.

1953:  English playwright, actor and composer Noel Coward (1899 – 1973) on holiday in Jamaica in a hired rowing boat. 

Hon Desmond Guinness in his recently acquired home Leixlip Castle, Co Kildare, Ireland with his children Marina and Patrick. Their mother is Princess Marie Gabrielle von Urach.  Holiday Magazine – 1963.

1977:  At the 16th hole on Pebble Beach golf course, singer and film star Bing Crosby (in red) and A Thomas Taylor.


Lady Daphne Cameron (Mrs George Cameron) on a tiger skin rug  in the trophy room at socialite Laddie Sanford’s home in Palm Beach, Florida.
1959:  Babe Paley (Mrs William Paley) by the pool. Her husband, William Paley is snapping the photographer at their cottage, Round Hill, Jamaica.  From A Wonderful Time.


Mexican film star Dolores Del Rio (1905 – 1983) floating in a swimming pool in Acapulco, 1952.


American actor Humphrey Bogart (1899 – 1957) with his wife Lauren Bacall and their son Stephen at their home in Beverly Hills in California on Christmas Eve.

1953:  American film star Katharine Hepburn (1907 – 2003) driving along the waterfront with Irene Mayer Selznick at Montego Bay, Jamaica. 

Marilyn Monroe (1926  – 1962), wearing a red negligee trimmed with black lace, sorts out her fan mail shortly after her film ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ had been released. Original Publication: A Wonderful Time.


Author Truman Capote (1924 – 1984) relaxes with a book and a cigarette in his cluttered apartment, Brooklyn Heights, New York. Original Publication: A Wonderful Time.

April 1968:  Elizabeth Matthews, descendant  of H M Flagler co-founder of Palm Beach, sits in her great-grandfather’s favourite chair in front of the family mansion now the Flagler Museum, Palm Beach. From A Wonderful Time.


1960:  American poet and biographer of Abraham Lincoln, Carl Sandburg (1878 – 1967) sits at a desk belonging to Lincoln beneath the ‘rail-spliiter’ portrait of the President in the Chicago Historical Society Museum. From A Wonderful Time.


Working at his typewriter surrounded by ‘bunny girls’,  publisher Hugh M Hefner at the Playboy Key Club in Chicago. He founded adult magazines, Playboy, VIp and Oui. 

MANY more images after the jump!


The Barrett family enjoy a picnic in the unlikely setting of the Arizona desert, January 1978.


Circa 1961:  Heinrich Dite and Leonie Heller play a variety of curling in Lech, Austria.

1976, Eugenia Martinez de Irujo, daughter of the 18th Duchess of Alba, standing before Goya’s portrait of the 13th Duchess of Alba, Madrid, Spain.

1960, Prince and Princess Massimo with five of their six children in their residence, Palazzo Massimo all Colonne, Rome, Italy.


Circa 1970, The Marquess and Marchioness of Waterford and their elder son, the Earl of Tyrone, in the grounds of their home, Curraghmore, County Waterford, Ireland.


1960:  Poet Gwendolyn Brooks on the back steps of her home in Chicago.

November 1948:  An impromptu concert in Rome with American Jazz trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong (1901 – 1971), Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines (1905 – 1983) on piano and Jack Teagarden (1905 – 1964) on trombone playing with the ‘Rhythm Kings’. Hines and Teargarden play in Armstrong’s ‘All-Stars’ band.


1961, Dimitris Kritsas, a fashionable young couturier, poses among the gleaming Doric columns of the temple to Poseidon at Sounion.


1961:  Greek actress Melina Mercouri (1925 – 1994) sitting at a street cafe in Athens. 


Two bikini-clad holidaymakers enjoy a glass of wine outside the Carlton Hotel, Cannes.


1957:  John Albert Edward Spencer Churchill, the 10th Duke of Marlborough (1897 – 1972) and his wife Mary relax on a bench in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, the family seat in Oxfordshire.

Circa 1960:  Students from Stowe Preparatory School track through deep snow near Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, Vermont. From A Wonderful Time.

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