Beaton’s Shooting Star
It was an age of “parties.” There were “white” parties in which we shot down to the country in fleets of cars, dressed in white from head to foot, and danced on a white floor laid in the orchard, with the moonlight turning all the apples to silver, and then—in a pale pink dawn—playing races with champagne corks on the surface of the stream. There were Mozart parties in which powdered and peruked, we danced by candlelight and then—suddenly bored—rushed out into the street to join a gang excavating the gas mains at Hyde Park Corner. There were swimming parties where, at midnight, we descended on some municipal baths, hired for the occasion, and disported ourselves with an abandon that was all the fiercer because we knew that the press was watching—and watching with a very disapproving eye.
All I Could Never Be (1949)
Oh, to have been there.
Gracing the cover of the book I’m currently reading Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age by D. J. Taylor is this exquisite portrait of Miss Nancy Beaton as a shooting star, taken by her brother, Cecil Beaton, in 1929. See The Era of Misbehaving.