Press Release: West Dean College loans work to the major new exhibition at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is delighted to lend works by Cecil Beaton to the forthcoming exhibition, Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things which started at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield on Thursday, May 20 and runs until Sunday, July 4 2021.

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

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation can be found on Social Media:

Notes to Editors:

  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the ‘the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century’. 
  • The College is internationally recognised for excellence in arts and conservation education. Study options range from 800+ creative short courses and continuing professional development to Foundation and Masters degrees. It is a full partner of the University of Sussex.
  • The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London. 

Millennium Gallery, Arundel Gate, Sheffield, S1 2PP. Tel. 0114 278 2600
Open Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm Free entry (to avoid disappointment, book in advance at

For all media enquiries please contact Rachel Aked:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 07790 732448