Exploring the themes in Queer St Ives and Other Stories, the talk will focus on the previously unexplored queer history of St Ives. While referring to a wider historical context, it will concentrate on the period from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s, a pivotal era in the development of St Ives modernism and in changing social attitudes to homosexuality and the politics of liberation. Drawing on material gleaned from original interviews, and from correspondence and diaries in private archives, the talk will describe this queer history in detail.

Central to the talk is the sculptor John Milne (1931-1978). Originally from a working class background in the northwest of England, Milne travelled to St Ives in 1952 to work as an assistant to Barbara Hepworth, and remained in the town for the rest of his life. Over two decades Milne’s house ‘Trewyn’ was a meeting point for many queer visitors, among them artists Francis Bacon, Mark Tobey and Keith Vaughan, Whitechapel Gallery director Bryan Robertson, and the potters Janet Leach and Byron Temple. Taking in issues not only of sexuality but also of class, the talk will question established narratives about the St Ives artistic community, and in doing shine a new light on the history of this fabled Cornish art colony.


Dr Ian Massey is an independent art historian, writer and curator based in the UK.His publications include the monograph biography Patrick Procktor: Art and Life (Unicorn Press, 2010), and the co-authored Keith Vaughan: The Mature Oils (Sansom & Company, 2012). Among curatorial projects are Patrick Procktor retrospectives at Huddersfield Art Gallery (2012) and Arts University Bournemouth (2016), and the group show Pure Romance at The Redfern Gallery, London (2016). He is currently working on a curatorial project centred on the work of Keith Vaughan. Ian’s most recent book is Queer St Ives and Other Stories (Ridinghouse, 2022).

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

Oct 18th 2022 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

£5 - £10 & By Donation

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