1906 - 1987
Down at the Docks

Pen and black ink and watercolour

This was one of Tennant’s illustrations for his unpublished novel ‘Lascar: A Story You Must Forget’. The novel Lascar was an obsessive project for Tennant over the course of the last fifty years of his life, but one which remained incomplete at his death in 1987. The name Lascar, though now rarely used, was a term used to describe a sailor from India or other countries East of the Cape of Good Hope.

While he may not have completed the book, he finished many pieces of art, wrote and published many shorter illustrated stories, created artwork to decorate books for his friends and family’s work and had multiple exhibitions for his art, which were all well received.

Many of Stephen’s art pieces and personal objects are collected by Viktor Wynd who owns and runs ‘The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History’.

Stephen James Napier Tennant was a British socialite known for his decadent lifestyle. He was often called ‘the brightest’ of the ‘Bright Young People’.

Tennant was born into British nobility, the youngest of Scottish peer, Edward Tennant and Pamela Wyndham, one of the Wynham sisters and of The Souls clique. Stephen had two older brothers, one was killed in the First World War and another whom founded the Gargoyle Club in Soho.

During the 1920s and 1930s Tennant was an important member of the ‘Bright Young People’. His friends included Rex Whistler, Cecil Beaton, Lady Diana Manners and the Mitford girls. He is widely considered to be the model for Cedric Hampton in Nancy Mitford’s novel ‘Love in a Cold Climate’, one of the inspirations for Lord Sebastian Flyte in Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Brideshead Revisited’, and a model for the Honourable Miles Malpractice in some of Waugh’s other novels.

Another thing Stephen is most known for his romance with the war poet and writer Siegfried Sassoon. He was also the first patron of Cecil Beaton and became his model, along with many others of the bright young people, for dozens of beautiful photographs.