Stephen Tennant was one of the brightest of the bright young things, fascinating 1920s London with his enthusiastic partying, outfits and makeup – gold-dusted hair, lipstick and fingerwaves, anyone? He inspired (at least in part) the character of Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisted and was also the model for a Mitford character or two.
As a friend of most of London’s arts and literary society and a lover of all things beautiful, it’s no surprise that when Stephen retired to an arts and crafts cottage in Wiltshire he dedicated the remainder of his days in to making it as fabulous as possible. Stephen set to work recreating his beloved south of France in this little corner of England, inspired by the imaginary landscape of his never-to-be-finished novel: Lascar: A Story of the Maritime Boulevards.
According to descriptions, “Twenty two tons of silver sand were spread on the lush English lawns to evoke his Marseilles dream, Chinese fan palms planted, and tropical birds and lizards let loose in the grounds. In the winter, they took refuge in the house, accompanying Stephen as he turned the bath taps on his collection of shells, since they looked better that way.”
An exciting new exhibition opening on 7 May at the Viktor Wynd Fine Art gallery in London sets to recreate these surroundings in the first show dedicated to Stephen’s artwork since 1976.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get better, check out the Hendrick’s Lectures accompanying the show… If only I wasn’t going to Barcelona mid-May – the DJ Taylor one will be FANTASTIC. Book tickets and find out more here!
12th May 2011
Selina Hastings on Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh
24th May 2011
Max Egremont on Sigfried Sassoon
25th May 2011
DJ Taylor on Bright Young Things
1st June 2011
Hugo Vickers on Cecil Beaton – Malice in Wonderland
9th June 2011
Carol Mavor on Boyishness
12th June 2011
An Evening of Story Telling with Giles Abbott
15th June 2011
Wilde, Coward and Tennant – Three Decadent Lives with Philip Hoare