Pauline Boty was one of only two women artists associated with the emerging British Pop art movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s (Jann Haworth was the other).

She studied first at Wimbledon School of Art and later at the Royal College of Art, an important creative hub for the Pop art scene in the UK. In 1962 she came to the public’s attention when she appeared in Ken Russell’s BBC documentary film Pop Goes the Easel.

Boty began making collages during her student years. Like her paintings, these collages often reflected her self-assured femininity and rebellious nature, together with an overt or implicit criticism of the ‘man’s world’ in which she lived.

The imagery in Untitled (Seascape with Bird and Island) illustrates these themes. In a surreal scene, a colossus with the head of a Victorian woman appears to be scaring off men who are shown clambering from the island and rowing away in a boat. Issues of colonialism are also addressed, with the head representing a conquering European power while the fleeing people are indigenous. The picture incorporates fragments of Victorian engravings in the manner of collages made by Peter Blake and other Pop artists of this time.

Pallant House Gallery has strong holdings of British Pop, including work by artists including Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton and David Hockney. This collage by Boty, who died aged just 28, is the first work by the artist to join the collection.


Dr Jeffrey Sherwin The Mayor Gallery

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