Images by the Vogue photographer, Cecil Beaton, encapsulating an era of dazzle and extravagance, comes to the National Portrait Gallery from March 12 till June 7.
Although the gallery will be temporarily closed from March 18, should coronavirus pass there may hopefully still be a chance to view 170 of his works from the 1920s and 30s. The exhibition, entitled Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things, includes loans from national and international collections.
Highlights will be his vintage prints of some of his earliest subjects: his glamourous sisters Nancy and Baba. Beaton also photographed the many lavish parties he attended, capturing their theatrical proceedings and elaborate costumes.
The exhibition also features portraits of Cecil Beaton himself, offering an insight into his relationships with his subjects. These include an array of artistic personalities. Among them were artists Rex Whistler and Stephen Tennant, set and costume designer Oliver Messel, composer William Walton, Modernist poets Iris Tree and Nancy Cunard, actors and anglophiles Tallulah Bankhead and Anna May Wong, and modernist poet Brian Howard. The latter was the part-inspiration for the character, Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited.
As a souvenir of the exhibition, the gallery shop will offer a catalogue of the photos with poetry and biographies of the bright young things.
The National Portrait Gallery
March 12 – June 7 2020, continuing once the gallery reopens
Tickets without a donation £17 – £20
Tickets with a donation £19 – £22
Free for members and patrons
Friday tickets for £5 for under 25s
Monday – Wednesday 10am – 11am concessions and over 60s priced at £5
By Blyth Brentnall