A series of remarkable erotic and explicit drawings by British artist Duncan Grant has been donated to the Charleston in East Sussex, the former home Grant shared with Bloomsbury community of artists.
“Everybody thought they had been destroyed because of its homosexual nature and because they were illegal images,” Darren Clarke, head of collections at the Charleston, told the BBC.
Grant was a central figure in the circle of artist and writers known as Bloomsbury, which included Grant’s cousin Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes (Grant’s lover), Roger Fry, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Virginia’s sister the painter Vanessa Bell and Vanessa’s husband the critic Clive Bell.
In 1959, Grant gave the drawings to fellow artist Edward Le Bas, enclosed in a folder that warned “these drawings are very private.” They recently resurfaced through the retired theatre designer Norman Coates, who for years stored the drawings in plastic folders under his bed.
Duncan Grant, detail from an untitled drawing (c. 1946–59). Photo courtesy of the Charleston Trust ©the Estate of Duncan Grant, licensed by DACS 2020.
Duncan Grant, detail from an untitled drawing influenced by Greco-Roman art (c. 1946–59). Photo courtesy of the Charleston Trust ©the Estate of Duncan Grant, licensed by DACS 2020.