COLLECTING: It was the four-day shindig to end all shindigs... with photos to prove it. John Vincent reports.
CELEBRITY magazines such as OK! Hello! and Heat may not have been around back in the 1970s, but what would the paparazzi have given to be present at the party of the decade? When the guests letting their hair down in glittering fancy dress included the fun-loving Princess Margaret and the Jaggers – Rolling Stone frontman Mick and his stunning Nicaraguan wife Bianca.
Now, 35 years on, a cache of photos of the Princess celebrating the 50th birthday party of her close friend Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner, are to be snapped up at the London sale of the contents of the hedonistic peer’s Caribbean home.
Tennant, who died last August aged 83, transformed the forgotten island of Mustique from a barren rock into a multi-millionaires’ paradise and flew out 30 of his family and closest friends for the four-day binge in 1976.
One picture by society photographer Lord Lichfield shows Tennant and the Princess dancing together in Indian costume , while another depicts an unsmiling Lady Anne Tennant beside her husband, who is beaming at a beautiful Bianca Jagger. One by American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, captures Jagger whispering into Bianca’s ear, his nose squashed against her face. Many other leading society figures are included in the photos, expected to fetch £300-£500 each when they sold as part of the Bonhams sale in London on Wednesday.
Some of the guests arrived for the extravagant bash in their own jets, others by yacht. The London contingent was billeted in various private houses around the island after an overnight stop in Barbados and a series of charter flights to Mustique, with Princess Margaret holding court at her house, Les Jollieux Eaux. It was worth the trip, with guests treated to fabulous parties and entertainments culminating in a Caribbean spectacular at Macaroni Beach, where the theme was “all gold”. The sale of the contents of his property, Beau House on St Lucia, features a silver novelty snuffbox presented to Tennant by Princess Margaret and a glass image of his house on Mustique she gave him on his 60th birthday. Bianca was out of Jagger’s life by that time – and Jerry Hall was there to celebrate instead.
From Mustique, Tennant moved to St Lucia in the early 1990s, together with his pet elephant, and settled in Beau House.