In 1967, sex between consenting men in England and Wales was finally decriminalised - an entire century after the death penalty was abolished for sodomy in Britain in 1861. Between these legal landmarks lies a century of seismic shifts in gender and sexuality which found expression across the arts as artists, collectors and consumers explored transgressive identities, experiences and perspectives. Some of the resulting artworks were intensely personal, celebrating lovers or expressing private desires. Others addressed a wider public, helping to forge a sense of community at a time when the modern categories of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender were largely unrecognised. Ranging from the playful to the political, the explicit to the domestic, these works reveal the rich diversity of queer British art. This beautiful book explores coded desires in aestheticism; the impact of the new science of sexology; queer domesticities; eroticism in the artist's studio; intersections of gender and sexuality; seedy dives and visions of Arcadia; and love and lust in sixties Soho.
Featuring works by major artists such as Simeon Solomon, Clare Atwood, Ethel Sands, Duncan Grant, Francis Bacon and David Hockney among others, Queer British Art pays homage to the wealth of queer creativity in Britain between the 1860s and the 1960s.