NEWS: National Portrait Gallery Announces Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things Exhibition

The exhibition will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery from the 12th March 2020.

Baba Beaton as Heloise in Great Lovers Pageant, 1927. Photograph: Cecil Beaton/National Portrait Gallery/PA.

The National Portrait Gallery has announced a new exhibition of the work of Cecil Beaton will go on display next year, bringing together his portraits  from a golden age together for the first time.

Bringing together over 150 works, Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things will explore the extravagant world of the glamorous and stylish ‘Bright Young Things’ of the twenties and thirties, seen through the eye of the renowned British photographer.

As well as focusing on portraits of his artists and friends such as Rex Whistler, Stephen Tennant, set and costume designer Oliver Messel, composer William Walton, modernist poets Iris Tree and Nancy Cunard, glamorous socialites Edwina Mountbatten and Diana Guinness (née Mitford), actresses and anglophiles Tallulah Bankhead and Anna May Wong, the exhibition will examine Beaton’s own life and relationship with the ‘Bright Young Things’ .

With the exhibition featuring  loans from national and international collections and in particular an extensive loan from the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s, highlights will include vintage prints of Beaton’s earliest subjects, his glamorous sisters Nancy and Baba and the Vogue portrait of his friend George Rylands as ‘The Duchess of Malfi’, published when he was a student, and which set him on the road to fame. 

As well as Beaton’s own portraits, the display will also include  paintings by friends and artists know to Beaton including Rex Whistler, Henry Lamb, Ambrose McEvoy, Christopher Wood and Augustus John; portraits of Beaton by Paul Tanqueray, Dorothy Wilding, and Curtis Moffat; as well as letters, magazines, invitations, scrapbooks, book jackets and other ephemera.

Talking about the exhibition, Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London said: “We are delighted to announce this major new exhibition for spring 2020 and to bring together for the first time so many of Beaton’s dazzling photographs, high on art and artifice, which beautifully capture the original and creative world of the Bright Young Things.”

Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things will be displayed at the National Portrait Gallery from the 12th March until the 7th June 2020.

%d bloggers like this: