World News – GB – Lost stash of 400 Duncan Grant erotic drawings revealed


An extraordinary stash of over 400 erotic drawings by Duncan Grant long believed to have been destroyed has been discovered, secretly passed for decades from friend to friend and lover to lover

Grant was a key member of the Bloomsbury group and one of the most famous and successful British artists of the mid-20th century.As a gay man he lived the first 82 years of his life as a criminal

In the 1940s and 1950s Grant made hundreds of drawings, many of which were self-explanatory and often influenced by Greco-Roman traditions as well as contemporary physics magazines

On May 2, 1959, Grant handed his friend Edward le Bas a file that read “these designs are very private” Mythology in Bloomsbury circles is that the designs were later destroyed, probably by Le’s sister. Stockings

It was that until Nathaniel Hepburn, the manager of Charleston, the beautiful farm of Sussex Grant and Vanessa Bell called home, was contacted with an offer of the designs

“There haven’t been a lot of happy moments in 2020 for anyone running a cultural organization or for many people around the world,” Hepburn said “But definitely getting this email, having this phone conversation , then see the designs and realize how important they were going to be… it was definitely a highlight of the year « 

The offer came from retired theater designer Norman Coates, who for years stored the designs in plastic folders under his bed

Coates said the designs were « amazing, so in your face You can’t avoid them When I sometimes took them to show to selected friends after dinner, after the initial exclamation of ‘My God’ to these very explicit drawings, they soften… the sexual element really does not dominate

« It is the painting and the skill of his drawing and the aesthetics of it that denies their sensuality It becomes irrelevant that the subject is what it is… it is a very strange feeling This just becomes a nice collection of images « 

Coates left the drawings by his partner, Mattei Radev, deceased in 2009 Radev, a Bloomsbury mainstay who as a youngster had a secret and tortured affair with EM Forster, was left to them by Eardley Knollys, who died in 1991

Knollys, who ran the influential Storran Gallery in London and had an affair with Jean Cocteau, was gifted to them by Le Bas, a painter Le Bas was given to them by Grant, a man the economist John Maynard Keynes briefly thought to be the love of his life

Hepburn said the drawings were often explicit fantasies but overall they were something more

« They are, I think, a work that speaks of love Of course, at a time when they were made, it was a love that was illegal, » he said. « He was never able to share the works. How we see them now will be very different »

Coates could of course have sold the designs and made a fortune Hepburn hopes the act of generosity could inspire others to help Charleston, which, like most historic homes, is struggling due to the pandemic of coronavirus

Next week he will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise the remaining sum needed to reopen The appeal will begin on October 16, the 104th anniversary of when Grant, her boyfriend David « Bunny » Garnett and Bell have moved to Charleston

Hepburn said that at one point the drawings, an important slice of gay history as well as art history, would be on display and incorporated into stories told in Charleston, a place that was « An artistic house but also a celebration of queer and a group of people imagining life differently ”

Erotic Art, Bloomsbury Group, Duncan Grant, Charleston Trust

News from the world – UK – The lost stash of 400 erotic drawings by Duncan Grant revealed


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