News

Geoffrey Reeve’s photo of Pauline Boty shown for the first time

Pauline Boty in the Junior Common Room at the RCA, late 1960 or early 1961. © Geoffrey Raymond Reeve

Paulineboty.org is honoured to show the photo above for the first time. It was taken by Boty’s friend and fellow Royal College of Art student Geoffrey Reeve in the college’s Junior Common Room, which was originally on the first floor on the corner of Cromwell Place and Cromwell Road opposite the Natural History Museum in South Kensington.
Behind Boty can be seen John Watson and Alan Cooper of The Temperance Seven rehearsing. The 1920s-style jazz band, formed at the RCA during 1957, had a UK #1 hit single in 1961 with “You’re Driving Me Crazy” produced by George Martin followed by “Pasadena”, which reached #4. More information on them can be found here [link]

Early Boty study for stained glass sold at Christie’s

Earlier this month the gouache on card work, created by Boty when a student at the Royal College of Art, sold for double its high estimate. The following image and details are all courtesy of Christie’s:

Pauline Boty (1938-1966). Designs for stained glass window. Price realised GBP 20,000. Estimate GBP 7,000 – GBP 10,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2021

Produced in the first year of her studies at the RCA, this design already demonstrates Boty’s breadth of interests and talent for creative juxtapositions. The proportions and diptych arrangement seem made for church windows, but the content is far from ecclesiastical. Instead, the design features a dreamlike mix of architectural elements and a large letter ‘L’ framing figural elements including heads (painted frontally and in profile), and two lovers locked in an embrace. The assembly of disparate elements into a cohesive whole foreshadows Boty’s later Pop Art paintings and collages. It also reflects the influence of Charles Carey, who first taught Boty stained glass design at the Wimbledon Art School, and who encouraged students to use collage during the design process as a means of adding contemporary elements to an ancient artform.

Pauline Boty was a polymath who entered the Royal College of Art in 1958 to study stained glass design but became a leading light in the nascent Pop Art scene alongside contemporaries including Peter Blake and Derek Boshier. In this guise she produced paintings and collages which blended abstract elements with a profusion of imagery poached from pop culture, with surreal and often satirical results. She was also heavily involved with film and literature societies and agitated against some of the more egregious examples of contemporary architecture in London as a key organiser for the ‘Anti Uglies’.

Provenance
The artist’s family.
Private collection, London.
Purchased by the present owner at the 2016 exhibition

PAULINE BOTY (1938-1966)
Designs for stained glass window
gouache on card
9 ¼ x 3 in. (23.5 x 7.6 cm.) each
Executed circa 1958

Literature
Exhibition catalogue, Pop Art Heroes Britain, London, Whitford Fine Art, 2016, pp. 26–27, no. 13, illustrated

Exhibited
London, Whitford Fine Art, Pop Art Heroes Britain, May – July 2016, no. 13

New page on Pauline Boty’s collaged wall added to the site

Pauline Boty: collaged wall key for 1964 Roger Mayne photo, v2, March 2021

The collaged wall created by Pauline Boty and photographed by Roger Mayne in 1964 has now been added to the site together with the numbered key shown above identifying some 60 items so far.
As stated on the page, it is greatly hoped that this will provide a starting point for identifying the array of items chosen by Boty to adorn the wall, and that in time more of them will be identified and the list expanded further.
All comments, corrections, clarifications and suggestions from visitors to the site in this regard would be greatly appreciated, via the Contact form here: [link]
The new page can be accessed here: [link]

New photos added to the site, courtesy of Geoffrey Reeve

The first of a number of new images of Pauline Boty has been added to the website thanks to the generosity of one of her friends and fellow RCA students, Geoffrey Reeve, who also co-exhibited his paintings in the pioneering exhibition Blake, Boty, Porter, Reeve at the AIA Gallery in 1961.
Pictured below is Boty with fellow students from the stained glass department, photographed by Reeve for an article entitled “It’s Magic” in ARK 33 magazine, Autumn 1962.
Further of his portraits of Boty and her contemporaries will be shown in due course on the site via In Focus>Photos, changing on a regular basis.
Over 30 of Reeve’s photos are available to license from Bridgeman Images for personal, presentation and editorial use here: [link]

Pauline Boty with fellow RCA students [L-R] Brian Newman, Ray Bradley and Gerald Nason, c.1960. Photo © Geoffrey Raymond Reeve.

Map showing locations of works now added

The screen grab below is of a new map added to the website showing the locations of Pauline Boty’s works in galleries and museums around the world. The map itself is available here [link]
NB: not all are permanently on display however, so please be sure to check with the institution in question before making a trip specifically to see a work.

Please note: above shows a screen shot only of the map. Please visit the page itself to see all locations.

Slideshow and sources info for collages added to the site

The slideshow above of Pauline Boty’s collages shown in Ken Russell’s 1962 documentary Pop Goes the Easel  has now also been added to the Collages section of the site [link] as detailed in a previous News item here [link].
In addition a new page has been added giving information on the sources of titles for a number of collages here [link].

“The Hidden Mod in Modern Art” with chapter on Pauline Boty and Bridget Riley is published on 13th October

“The Hidden Mod in Modern Art: London, 1957-1969” by Thomas Crow.

“The Hidden Mod in Modern Art: London, 1957-1969” by Thomas Crow looks into the considerable influence of the Mod subculture on key figures of the 1960s British art scene. One of its six chapters is devoted in its entirety to Pauline Boty and Bridget Riley, including a fascinating account of the former’s association with John Schlesinger and his films Billy Liar and Darling. The book is published by the Paul Mellon Centre.

Pauline Boty, photographed by Lewis Morley, 1963. Bromide print, 29.3 x 35.6 cm. National Portrait Gallery, London

From the Yale University Press website: “Bonding over matters of taste and style, the ‘Mods’ of late 1950s London recognised in one another shared affinities for Italian-style suits, tidy haircuts, espresso bars, Vespa scooters and the latest American jazz.
In this groundbreaking book, leading art historian Thomas Crow argues that the figure of the Mod exerted an influence beyond its assumed social boundaries by exemplifying the postwar metropolis in all of its excitement and complexity. Crow examines the works of key figures in the London art scene of the 1960s, including Robyn Denny, David Hockney, Pauline Boty, Bridget Riley and Bruce McLean, who shared and heightened aspects of this new and youthful urbanity.
The triumphant arrival of the international counterculture forced both young Mods and established artists to reassess and regroup in novel, revealing formations. Understanding the London Mod brings with it a needed, up-to-date reckoning with the legacies of Situationism, Social Art History and Cultural Studies.”

Imprint: Paul Mellon Centre 
Distribution: Yale University Press
Format: Hardback 
ISBN: 9781913107130
Dimensions: 241 x 165mm
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 140 colour + b-w illustrations
Price: £25

Definitive history of “Ready, Steady, Go!” is out now

“Ready, Steady, Go! The Weekend Starts Here” by Andy Neill. Published by BMG Books.

“Ready, Steady, Go! The Weekend Starts Here” by Andy Neill has just been published by BMG Books. The 12″ x 12″ hardback comprises 272 pages with a UK retail price of £39.99.

Pauline Boty danced on the first show and was from then on a regular dancer with Derek Boshier. Both are mentioned in the book and Boshier’s 10th July 1964 dancer’s badge button is included among its illustrations.

From the BMG press release:

“Almost sixty years have passed since the first transmission of the most influential popular music programme in British television history.
Ready, Steady, Go! began broadcasting on Friday, 9th August 1963 and became an essential television ritual for the newly confident British teenager. It provided a style bible – setting trends and becoming the barometer for popular culture.
It epitomised the spirit of youthful optimism that gripped Britain in the mid- Sixties, reflected by the handpicked Mod audience who were an integral part of the programme. This was perfectly embodied by girl-next-door presenter Cathy McGowan whose shy, almost awkward demeanour directly connected her with the show’s target audience.
It ran for three and a half years up to December 1966, its demise coinciding with the loss of pop’s innocence and the birth of the ‘rock industry.’ Within that time RSG! set a blueprint for music presentation and production on British television that resonated over the following decades and can still be felt today.
It attracted and presented anyone who was anyone in popular music at the time: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Otis Redding were just some of the important names that appeared. RSG! not only gave invaluable television promotion to these greats but also provided such then-unknowns as Rod Stewart, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Donovan, and Jimi Hendrix with their first small screen exposure.
Ready, Steady, Go! broke through technical barriers. Young adventurous directors such as Michael Lindsay-Hogg experimented with camera techniques used in French nouvelle vague cinema. The sets that were designed each week by Nicholas Ferguson were consciously modelled on current mod fashions and op art (Hockney, Riley, Blake etc.)
Ready, Steady, Go! has never been documented in full detail before – until now. Thanks to exclusive contributions and unseen photographs and memorabilia, author Andy Neill fully examines Ready, Steady, Go! from quintessential Swinging London accessory to its current iconic status as the most legendary popular music programme of all time.”

Images of Boty’s lost collages seen in “Pop Goes the Easel” to be shown on paulineboty.org

“Untitled (I surrender dear)”, collage, c. 1961. Screen grab from “Pop Goes the Easel”. © Estate of Pauline Boty

I would like to thank the BBC Photo Library for their assistance in confirming that copyright for the images of Pauline Boty’s works shown in Ken Russell’s 1962 documentary Pop Goes the Easel resides with the Estate of Pauline Boty, and am delighted therefore to be able to include them on this website.
Commissioned by BBC Television for its Monitor series, Russell’s film includes 16 of Boty’s works shown initially full screen and face-on and then side-on whilst she sat with Peter Blake to discuss their content and sources of imagery. The titles aren’t discussed, but as mentioned in the previous News item, the hope is to ultimately match at least some of them to those of works exhibited in the Blake, Boty, Porter, Reeve exhibition which took place at the AIA Gallery whilst the programme was being filmed.

For UK viewers, Pop Goes the Easel is currently available on iPlayer here: [link]