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February 4, 2021

Glamour in 1920s London: Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things

After the end of the First World War came the ‘20s, an era of stunning creativity: the Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties, the années folles, Art Deco, the Weimar culture, the Lost Generation, and in London it was the foundation of the Bright Young Things, a group of Bohemian young aristocrats and socialites who, on their sacred mission to provoke the stiff customs long preserved by the older generation, threw wild parties, pageants, treasure hunts, pranks and outraged the public by their genderless and revealing outfits.

The Bright Young Things at Wilsford, 1927. (Cecil Beaton)

Aside from the papers, the group had their own documenter, who was not only their member but also happened to be the wildest one, the renowned photographer Cecil Beaton. It was Beaton that forever immortalized this particular generation who “brighten up” London through his visual representation, “a deliriously eccentric, glamorous and creative era of British cultural life, combining high society and the avant-garde, artists and writers, socialites and partygoers, all set against the rhythms of the Jazz Age,” as described by the exhibition’s curator Robin Muir.

Take a look at the glamorous members of the group through 21 exquisite portraits: 


 

Edward Le Bas as Mrs Vulpy in 'The Watched Pot,' 1924. (Cecil Beaton)

George ‘Dadie’ Rylands as the Duchess of Malfi, 1924. (Cecil Beaton)

Nancy and Baba Beaton, 1920s. (Cecil Beaton)

Self-portrait, 1920s. (Cecil Beaton)

Baba Beaton, 1920s. (Cecil Beaton)

Self-portrait, Cambridge Footlights, 1925. (Cecil Beaton)

Edith Sitwell at Sussex Gardens, 1926. (Cecil Beaton)

Edith Sitwell at Sussex Gardens, 1926. (Cecil Beaton)

Nancy and Baba Beaton, 1926. (Cecil Beaton)

Nancy and Baba Beaton, 1926. (Cecil Beaton)

Cecil Beaton and Stephen Tennant, 1927. (Cecil Beaton)

Zita and Teresa Jungman, 1927. (Cecil Beaton)

The Bright Young Things, 1927. (Mary Evans Picture Library)

The Bright Young Things at Wilsford, 1927. (Cecil Beaton)

The Bright Young Things at Wilsford, 1927. (Cecil Beaton)

Baba Beaton and Prince Galitzine, 1927. (Cecil Beaton)

Paula Gellibrand, Marquesa de Casa Maury, 1928. (Cecil Beaton)

Anne Armstrong-Jones, 1928. (Cecil Beaton)

Maxine Freeman-Thomas dressed for Ascot in the year 2000 for the Dream of Fair Women Ball, 1928. (Cecil Beaton)

Anna May Wong, 1929. (Cecil Beaton)




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