The brightest among the Bright Young Things - what the English tabloid of the 1920s called a group of bohemian aristocrats - Nancy Mitford's books are a joy. These coming of age series are what I go to everything I'm under the weather, listless, or want a delicious escape from the dog eat dog of everyday. Shame how filghty the covers are - my fault totally. I'm a sloppy reader.
What are they about:
These comic novels are populated with old world characters, bloodhound chases, coming outs, and the eccentricity of the landed gentry. Think Wodehouse but with veins and arteries, and dirty blood gushing through them. Spiky and intelligent prose marks every page.
Sample this: 'There was the unforgettable holiday when Uncle Matthew and Aunt Sadie went to Canada. The Radlett children would rush for the newspapers every day hoping to see that their parents' ship had gone down with all aboard; they yearned to be total orphans - especially Linda, who saw herself as Katy in 'What Katy Did', the reins of the household gathered into small but capable hands.'
This daybed complete with back cushions and upholstered in champagne coloured silk has been looking so enticing on The Gallery at Moor Park. You can just envisage a crowd of Bright Young Things or a gaggle of debutantes lounging on it in days gone by. At not too far shy of three metres long there would even be scope for me at 6ft 4” to have a lie down when the viewing gets to much for me! The daybed is lot 257 in The Pedestals 24th April Auction. www.thepedestal.com.
A fabulous evening with @lexi3.14 courtesy of Mr J. Gatsby...great show and a real treat seeing old friends in the cast!
Also nice to take John Reid stateside to see if they could do it any better!
From our latest e-list...
Tennant, Stephen: LEAVES FROM A MISSIONARY'S NOTEBOOK. The Adventures of Felix Littlejohn.
London: Secker and Warburg. 1929
First edition, first printing. Trade issue. Publisher’s original blue cloth with white titles to the upper board, in dustwrapper. Illustrated throughout. An excellent very near fine copy, the binding clean, square and firm, the contents clean throughout and without previous owner’s inscriptions or stamps. Complete with the rubbed and nicked original dustwrapper which has a few tiny chips and closed tears at the spine tips and fold corners. An attractive example, scarce in the dustwrapper.
This is the Cleopatra mask and headdress from the 1945 film, Caesar and Cleopatra. It was designed by Oliver Messel, one of the twentieth century’s foremost theatrical designers. This mask forms part of his personal archive acquired by the University of Bristol Theatre Collection in 2015 with an £80,000 NHMF grant.
Messel’s career spanned the worlds of stage, film, opera, interior design, portraiture and architecture. He transformed the professional status of designers giving them, for the first time, the same ‘billing’ as actors.
Born in 1904, Messel became one of the ‘bright young things’ in 1920s London, along with others such as Cecil Beaton and Rex Whistler. He received his first theatrical commission in 1925, designing masks for the Diaghilev ballet, Zéphyre et Flore and went on to become the pre-eminent designer of his day. He designed landmark productions including Sleeping Beauty (1946) and Ring Round the Moon (1950). His successful career as a world-renowned designer continued into the 1970s.