Stephen Tennant by Cecil Beaton (1927/ 1928)

Stephen Tennant (1906 – 1987) was a British socialite known for his decadent lifestyle. During the 1920s and 1930s, Tennant was an important member – the “Brightest”, it is said – of the “Bright Young People”. His friends included Rex Whistler, Cecil Beaton, the Sitwells, Lady Diana Manners and the Mitford girls.

He is widely considered to be the model for Cedric Hampton in Nancy Mitford’s novel Love in a Cold Climate, one of the inspirations for Lord Sebastian Flyte in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, and a model for the Hon. Miles Malpractice in some of Waugh’s other novels.

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Portrait of Stephen Tennant by Cecil Beaton, 1927/ 1928 via

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Portrait of Stephen Tennant by Cecil Beaton, 1927/ 1928 via

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Portrait of Stephen Tennant by Cecil Beaton, 1927/ 1928 via

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Iconic Fashion Designer Coco Chanel by Cecil Beaton (1937)

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Coco Chanel, by Cecil Beaton 1937 © Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby’s London via

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Coco Chanel, by Cecil Beaton 1937 © Cecil Beaton Studio Archive, Sotheby’s London via

Vintage Portraits of British Princesses by Cecil Beaton

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Princess Elizabeth by Cecil Beaton, Gelatin silver print, Buckingham Palace, March 1945. Museum no. E.1361-2010, © V&A Images via

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Princess Margaret by Cecil Beaton bromide print, 1950 20 3/4 in. x 15 7/8 in. (527 mm x 403 mm) Purchased, 1987 NPG P349 © V&A Images via

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Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent by Cecil Beaton bromide print on white card mount, 1939 9 7/8 in. x 8 in. (252 mm x 203 mm) Given by Cecil Beaton, 1968 NPG x21151 © V&A Images via

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Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester by Cecil Beaton bromide print on white card mount, 1961 8 3/4 in. x 5 7/8 in. (223 mm x 150 mm) Given by Cecil Beaton, 1968
NPG x35198 © V&A Images via

Amazing Party Photos From the 1920s

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Lilyan Tashman is the center of attention at the wild party exuberantly staged by Ernst Lubitsch in “So This Is Paris,” screening March 12 at Film Forum, 1926 via

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The Bright Young Things, Impersonation Party, 1927: Among the revellers are Cecil Beaton (back left), Tallulah Bankhead (front right), Elizabeth Ponsonby (in black hat), and (front row left) Stephen Tennant as Queen Marie of Romania via

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 1920s party via

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Andre Kertesz-A Picnic Party in Bois e Boulogne, Paris, 1929 via

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Party girls, 1928 via

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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.

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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

Surreal Vignette by Cecil Beaton (1936)

Ruth Ford (1911-2009) was an American model and stage and film actress. As a model she posed for Harper’s, Town and Country and Mademoiselle. She was best known for the salon she created at her beautiful, art-lined Manhattan apartment, frequented by the likes of William Faulkner, Cecil Beaton, Truman Capote and Andy Warhol (source).

Her brother was the bohemian surrealist Charles Henri Ford.

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Cecil Beaton Surreal Vignette, Ruth Ford with tapemeasure. 1936 via

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Cecil Beaton Surreal Vignette, Ruth Ford with tapemeasure. 1936 via

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Cecil Beaton Surreal Vignette, Ruth Ford with tapemeasure. 1936 via

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Cecil Beaton Surreal Vignette, Ruth Ford with tapemeasure. 1936 via

Barbara Hutton wearing the amazing Romanov Tiara

Barbara Woolworth Hutton (November 14, 1912 – May 11, 1979) was an American debutante/socialite, heiress and philanthropist. She was dubbed the “Poor Little Rich Girl”, first when she was given a lavish and expensive debutante ball in 1930, amid the Great Depression, and later due to a notoriously troubled private life.

Over the years she personally acquired a magnificent collection of her own which included the spectrum of arts, porcelain, valuable jewelry, including elaborate historic pieces that had once belonged to Marie Antoinette and Empress Eugénie of France, and important pieces by Fabergé and Cartier. 

Her emerald tiara was made by Cartier from the Grand Duchess Vladimir’s emeralds.

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Cecil Beaton, Portrait of Barbara Hutton wearing The Romanov Tiara. The Romanov Tiara was created with Romanov emeralds in 1947, Sidi Hosni, Tangier, Morocco, 1961 via

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Cecil Beaton, Portrait of Barbara Hutton wearing both the Pasha Diamond Ring and Romanov Tiara. The Romanov Tiara was created with Romanov emeralds in 1947, Sidi Hosni, Tangier, Morocco, 1961 via