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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Amazing Party Photos From the 1920s

SO THIS IS PARIS

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

1920s party via

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