The College’s founder, Edward James, was part of the extravagant and creative world of the glamorous and avant-garde Bright Young Things of the twenties and thirties, and the exhibition is seen through the eye of the renowned British photographer Cecil Beaton.
The two items that have been loaned are Cecil Beaton’s Portrait of Edward James, dating from the 1930s and his watercolour portrait of the dancer Tilly Losch, who was married to Edward James at the time it was painted.
As Hugh Morrison, Head of Collections at West Dean College, said: “Edward James, who owned West Dean in early 1930s (now West Dean College of Arts and Conservation) entertained many of the ‘Bright Young Things’ circle. A Visitors Book in our archive records the signatures of not only Cecil Beaton but also Peter Watson, the arts benefactor adored by Beaton, and the artists Oliver Messel and Rex Whistler in 1933… it must have been such an exciting time!”
West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded by Surrealist patron Edward James in 1971 with the aim of supporting future generations of artists and makers. Today, the College offers degree and diploma level courses ranging from contemporary fine art to furniture making and conservation,as well as over 300 short courses each year. Students benefit from interdisciplinary study opportunities and access to the College’s unique Collection and Archive. The College has an international reputation for excellence and is a full partner of the University of Sussex. For conservation, craft and fine art study opportunities see www.westdean.ac.uk.
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