London’s National Portrait Gallery is to pay homage to photographer Cecil Beaton with a major exhibition of close to 150 portraits from the 1920s and 1930s.
Rex Whistler, Stephen Tennant, William Walton, Anna May Wong, Diana Guinness, the Marquesa de Casa Maury and Baba, the Princess of Faucigny-Lucinge… These names might not ring very many bells today, but close to a century ago they were the center of endless attention from the British tabloids. The spirit of these young English socialites, who were dubbed the “Bright Young Things,” was immortalized by one of their number, Cecil Beaton (1904-1980).
Born to a middle-class suburban family, Cecil Beaton embarked on an extraordinary ascent to social distinction that was almost unthinkable in the pre-war England of his time to become the glass of fashion and a star photographer for Vogue.
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Renowned British photographer and designer Cecil Beaton was born #onthisday in 1904. Best known for his elegant portraits of high society, he was also an illustrator, a diarist, and an Academy Award winning costume and set designer.⠀ ⠀ Experience Beaton’s extravagant and stylish world in the major new exhibition Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things. Featuring the leading cast of the ‘Bright Young Things’, this show will chart Beaton’s transformation from middle-class suburban schoolboy to glittering society figure and the unrivalled star of Vogue.⠀ ⠀ Opens 12 March. Booking now: link in bio. #CecilBeatonBYT⠀ ⠀ #NationalPortraitGallery #portraiture #cecilbeaton #photography⠀ ⠀ 📷: Cecil Beaton by Paul Tanqueray, 1937. National Portrait Gallery, London © Estate of Paul Tanqueray
With nearly 150 works, the exhibition will bring together loans from national and international collections and from the archives of Sotheby’s. The show includes period prints of the artist’s early works in which he portrayed his sisters Nancy and Baba, and an image of his friend George Rylands as Webster’s Duchess of Malfi, which was accepted by Vogue, setting him on the road to fame. Illustrating a life of tumultuous weekends and house parties in stately homes, in one notable print the “Bright Young Things” are fancifully dressed as 18th-century shepherds and shepherdesses, highlighting their almost manic taste for theater and spectacle.
Along with the portraits by Beaton, the show will also feature paintings by his friends Rex Whistler, Henry Lamb of the Camden Town Group and Ambrose McEvoy.
The exhibition will “bring to life a deliriously eccentric, glamorous and creative era” that combined “high society and the avant garde, artists and writers, socialites and partygoers, all set against the rhythms of the jazz age,” explains curator Robin Muir.
“Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things” will run in the National Portrait Gallery in London from March 12 to June 7, 2020.
For more information: https://www.npg.org.uk/
This story first appeared via AFP Relaxnews