Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things

12 March 2019–7 June 2020

Exhibition Overview

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The Bright Young Things at Wildsford by Cecil Beaton, 1927. © THE CECIL BEATON STUDIO ARCHIVE AT SOTHEBY'S

This major new exhibition will explore the extravagant world of the glamorous and stylish ‘Bright Young Things’ of the twenties and thirties, seen through the eye of renowned British photographer Cecil Beaton. It will bring to life a deliriously eccentric, glamorous and creative era of British cultural life, combining High Society and the avant-garde, artists and writers, socialites and partygoers.

Featuring the leading cast of the ‘Bright Young Things’, many of whom Beaton would call friends – Anna May Wong, Oliver Messel and Stephen Tennant among others, this show will chart Beaton’s transformation from middle-class surburban schoolboy to glittering society figure and the unrivalled star of Vogue. In addition to Beaton’s own portraits, the exhibition will also feature paintings by friends and artists including Rex Whistler, Henry Lamb, and Augustus John.

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