I am feeling inspired! Last week I took some time to visit Pallant House Gallery in Chichester (www.pallant.org.uk) to see the newly opened exhibition of paintings by Pauline Boty.
Yes, I know what you may well be saying; who the hell is Pauline Boty? Well, actually she was a leading light in the British Pop Art scene in the early 1960’s, exhibiting her work alongside those great Pop Art luminaries Peter Blake, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips.
Talented and intelligent, Boty was acutely aware that as a woman she was not taken as seriously as her male counterparts, where great emphasis was often made about her striking good looks. She was known as the Wimbledon Bardot while a student at Wimbledon Art School, and although her tutor at that establishment encouraged her, she was advised that it was “too difficult for a mere girl” to get into the prestigious School of Painting at the RCA, so instead she enrolled in the School of Stained Glass instead.
Glamorous as well as intelligent, her interest in modern day things gave her a heightened awareness of the “real world” in particular the place of women in that world and her artwork reflects this. Boty died tragically young from cancer on 1st July 1966 aged just 28 years old.
The exhibition at Pallant House seeks to reassess her work and her place in the History of Art. A very interesting book “Pauline Boty, pop artist and woman” by Sue Tate accompanies the exhibition and provides a fascinating insight into Boty’s short, but incredibly full life. Having seen the exhibition and read the book, I am of the mind that I would love to have met her as I am sure there would have been much to talk about.
The following images of Boty’s work have been reproduced from Sue Tate’s excellent book , and are my favourites as well as giving a flavour of what Boty was, in part, about.
Colour her Gone 1962
The only blonde in the world 1963
My Colouring Book 1963
Pauline Boty poses with Scandal in 1963, this painting is now lost
It’s a Man’s World 1964/65
Bum 1966, this was Boty’s last painting completed not long before she died