The Bright Young Things Captured by Cecil Beaton (1927)

The Bright Young Things, or Bright Young People, was a nickname given by the tabloid press to a group of bohemian young aristocrats and socialites in 1920s London. They threw elaborate fancy dress parties, went on elaborate treasure hunts through nighttime London, drank heavily and used drugs—all of which was enthusiastically covered by journalists such as Tom Driberg.

They inspired a number of writers, including Nancy Mitford (Highland Fling), Anthony Powell (A Dance to the Music of Time), Henry Green (Party Going) and the poet John Betjeman (A Subaltern’s Love Song). Evelyn Waugh’s 1930 novel Vile Bodies, adapted as the 2003 film Bright Young Things, is a satirical look at this scene. Cecil Beaton began his career in photography by documenting this set, of which he was a member.

NPG x40409; Cecil Beaton and his friends by Cecil Beaton

Bright Young Things by Cecil Beaton, October 1927; Rex Whistler, Cecil Beaton, Georgia Sitwell, William Walton, Stephen Tennant, Teresa Jungman and Zita Jungman via

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Bright Young Things at Wilsford by Cecil Beaton, October 1927; William Walton, Cecil Beaton, Stephen Tennant, Rex Whistler, Georgia Sitwell, Zita Jungman and Teresa Jungman via

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Stephen Tennant and The Bright Young Things, photograhed by Cecil Beaton, 1927 via

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