Waugh Walk and Beaton Exhibit

The Bodleian Library in Oxford has announced a Psychogeographic Writing/Walking tour around Oxford. This will take place on Saturday, 1 June at 1000a-1300p starting from the Weston Library on Broad Street. Here’s the description:

Join poet, writer and academic R.M.Francis for this one-off Psychogeographic writing workshop and walking tour. Rob will introduce writers, both novice and established, to new creative ways of approaching space and place, on an Evelyn Waugh inspired walk of Oxford, taking in some of the significant sites to Waugh’s experiences and writings of Oxford. At each location, the group will take a writing mini-retreat and get the chance to explore cutting-edge ways of writing from place.

The session will start with a brief introduction to the key ideas Rob’s introducing. The group will the then stroll through the streets of Waugh’s Oxford, using his life and work as inspiration for new creative endeavour.

Booking is required. For details click here.

In London, the National Portrait Gallery has announced a major exhibit of the works of Waugh’s contemporary, photographer Cecil Beaton. As explained in the Guardian, the exhibit:

…will tell the stories of a dazzling cast of often beautiful and extravagant bohemians who partied their way through the 1920s and 30s. The show’s curator, Robin Muir, said he hoped to “bring to life a deliriously eccentric, glamorous and creative era” of British cultural life, one that combined “high society and the avant garde, artists and writers, socialites and partygoers, all set against the rhythms of the jazz age”. About 150 works will go on show, some of which have rarely been exhibited.[…]

The sitters include the sulky and eccentric Stephen Tennant, the brightest of the Bright Young Things, who had a four-year affair with the poet Siegfried Sassoon and whose aim in life was to do as little as possible. He helped inspire the fictional characters Sebastian Flyte in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and Cedric Hampton in Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate. There will also be portraits of the artist Rex Whistler, the composer William Walton, the stage designer Oliver Messel, the poet Iris Tree and the Anglophile actors Tallulah Bankhead and Anna May Wong.

Beaton’s own life and relationship with the circle will also be explored, showing his transformation from middle-class suburban schoolboy to glittering society figure and Vogue magazine mainstay.

The Evening Standard has also profiled the exhibit, explaining that Beaton’s photos:

…inspired Evelyn’s Waugh’s 1930 best-seller Vile Bodies which was later filmed by Stephen Fry as Bright Young Things with a cast including James McAvoy, Michael Sheen and Emily Mortimer.[…] Gallery director Dr Nicholas Cullinan said the major new exhibition, which he described as “high on art and artifice”, captured the “original and creative world of the Bright Young Things”.

The exhibit, which is entitled Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things, will be at the National Portrait Gallery from 12 March until 7 June  2020.


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