The first ever dedicated public show for the pioneering Pop Artist, whose work fell into obscurity after her tragic early death at the age of 28.
A founding member of the Pop Art movement in this country, who appeared in Ken Russell’s Pop Goes the Easel alongside Peter Blake, Peter Phillips and Derek Boshier, she also worked as an actress, appearing in tv, radio and theatre. Her West London flat, where she lived with her husband, the left-wing writer and activist Clive Goodwin, was a regular haunt for the aspiring cultural elite in the early sixties, including the likes of Blake, David Hockney, Kenneth Tynan, Cecilia Birtwell and Roger McGough. When Bob Dylan came to the UK at the invitation of tv director Philip Saville, it was Boty who put him up.
As she analysed, subverted and skewered pop culture and major political events, Boty was herself very much in the public gaze. A famous beauty, known to her fellow students as the ‘Wimbledon Bardot’ and publically lusted after by David Frost, Peter Blake and many others, she was a dancer on the tv music show Ready Steady Go!, and even appeared as one of Alfie’s girlfriends in the 1966 film starring Michael Caine.
Some have argued that Boty’s legacy fell victim to misogyny – that her work was wilfully ignored – others draw attention to the disruptive effect of the tragic premature deaths of both her and her husband, she from cancer in 1966 and he from a brain haemorrhage 12 years later. Her rehabilitation began in the 1990s when David Alan Mellor of Sussex University rescued Boty’s works from a barn in Kent, where they had languished for decades. As the revival gathers steam, it has become apparent that at least three major canvases are unaccounted for, including Scandal ’63, which portrays the protagonists of the infamous Profumo affair.