Sir Edward Tennant was Charles' eldest son. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He married Pamela Wyndham (1871- ). The Tennants by this time were a rich Scottish family. The Tennants moved in high circles. The father, Edward-- Lord Glenconne, was familiar with important government ministers. Pamela was from a much more gentil (Whyndham), artistic background than the Tennants. She was members of the "Souls" a group of upper class intellectuals. Pamela Wyndham had two sisters, Mary and Adeane. Their father was a friend of John Singer Sargent, the American portratist. He painted the three sisters as ‘The Three Graces’--a clasical scene based on Grecian sculpture. But rather racy for the day, especially for identified subjects. Edward and Pamela had several children. The family consisted of five children, four boys (Edward-"Bim", Christophr, David, and Stephen) and an elder daughter. The children grew up in the Edwardian period. The charming period before the two world wars visited the horrors of the modern age on Europe. The children spent much of their time at Wilsford, the Tennant country estate with ample grounds and sunny gardens in which they could play.
Sir Edward Tennant was the eldest son of Sir Charles Tennant, a wealthy Scottish family.
Edward was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.
The Tennants by this time were a rich Scottish family, moving in high circles. The father, Edward-- Lord Glenconne, was familiar with important government ministers.
Edward married Pamela Wyndham (1871- ). The Whyndham family was much more gentil than the Tennant family.
She was members of the "Souls" a group of upper class intellectuals. Pamela Wyndham had two sisters, Mary and Adeane. Their father was a friend of John Singer Sargent, the great American portratist. He painted the three sisters as ‘The Three Graces’--a clasical scene based on Grecian sculpture. This was rather racy for the day. Clasical art might be excepted, but this was a nude painting of the three sisters. Pamelas was also a cousin of Lord Alfred Douglas (1870-1945), best known as Oscar Wilde's lover and the person got him thrown in jsil. When Sir Edward died, Pamela remarried to Lord Grey, a fellow bird-lover.
Edward and Pamela had five children, four boys (Edward-"Bim", Christophr, David, and Stephen) and an elder daughter. The children grew up in the Edwardian period. The charming period before the two world wars visited the horrors of the modern age on Europe. The children spent much of their time at Wilsford, the Tennant country estate with ample grounds and sunny gardens in which they could play. I do not know how the other brothers were dressed as young children. I did see a photograph of David at about 3 or 4 years in a dress and a hair bow. This was in a book on the Tennant family, but I don't recall the reference. The author of that book seemed to be embarrassed by Stephen's later behavior and blamed it all on Pamela. I don't think that the other boys wore dresses beyond the normal age of 4 or 5 years. Stephen's wearing of girls' dresses and long hair until 8 probably was pretty unusual, but not unheard of. I recall a photograph from a book on the "Souls". Thre was a group photo reproduced un the book. In the foreground is a child sitting cross legged on the ground with a beribboned straw hat on his curly shoulder length hair and wearing a knee-length dress with puffy sleeves. The caption on the picture says "The girlish looking figure sitting on the ground is in fact Ivo." Ivo was the youngest son who was between 7 and 8 when the photograph was taken. I think the family name was Grenfell.
Bim was Stephen's oldest brother. He was later killed in World War I in France during 1914 at the age of 21. This is a common theme in many of these essays about Edwardian brothers. The poetry magazine, Wheels, published Bim Tenant's verse (and was partly edited by Nancy Cunard, with whom Pamela's eldest boy was romantically linked).
The most notorious of the Tennant children was the baby--Stephen. He was 4 years old when the family photograph was taken. Stephen was the model for the main character in Nancy Mitford novel, Love in a Cold Climate. Stephen biographer reports that as a boy he had long blond hair and was dressed by Pamela in fussy dresses until he was 8 years old. As was the custom in the 19th century, boys wore dresses and smocks all the time--including outings to the park or special occasions like parties. This was becoming less common after the turn-of-the 20th century. And most boys were breeche before age 8 years. St. James park was reportedly a favorite. Friends report that Pamela had dearly wanted her youngest child to be a girl. This no doubt affected her upbringing of Stephen. Apparently the subject of how Stephen was dressed and raised had come up between Pamela and her husband Eddie who appears to have thought she was coddeling the boy to much. By the 1910s it was becoming increasingly unusual to keep a boy in dresses by the time he reached 7 or 8 years old. A journalist interviewed Pamela at home in 1914. Stephen was about 8 and still in dresses. The lady journalist came back with a story of the most beautiful child she had ever seen, almost impossibly a boy. Of course it was Stephen.
Pamela finally had Stephen's hair cut at age 8 and he was dressed in short pants. I'm not sure about the details of his more boyish outfits. I do know he served as a pageboy at the wedding of the Duchess of Rutland and the son of his father's best friend, General Arthur Wolfe Murray in 1916. I'm not sure what Stephen wore as a pageboy, but the wedding was about 2 years after he had begun wearing short pants and had his hair cut.
Stephen went to public school for a while but was mostly educated at home. He had 20 private tutors in one year alone. Dancing classes were also held at Queen Annes Gate (London home) that were joined in by his girl friends, Susan and Elizabeth Lowndes. For dancing classes Stephen wore a long smock like shirt, learning his dainty steps along with his friends.
Stephen as an adult was quite notorious in English society. Most of the Victorians and Edwardians who wore dresses as a boy do not seem to have been particularly affected. Something clearly happened to Stephen, but it is difficult to say just what caused it. Stephen as an adult was great friends with Rex Whistler (painter) who he met while studing drawing at an art institute in London and Cecil Beaton, who became the premier English upperclass photographer. In later life, Beaton was knighted. It is said that the two main characters in Brideshead Revisited were Rex and Stephn. Sommerrset Maugham who knew both Stephen and Rex as young men.
Stephen was a spoiled child. He proved to be a layabout youth. He was seen as a captivating beauty by the artistic crowd of the day.
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