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Refracted: Collection Highlights

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Refracted: Collection Highlights

An exhibition co-curated by members of the local LGBT+ community and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to mark the 50 year anniversary since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. This exhibition will showcase some of the hidden treasures and highlights of the Russell-Cotes collection*.

* For example the image featured on this page is by  John Minton (1917 – 1957) and was purchased by the museum from the artist in 1954.

John Minton was a celebrated figure in London’s Bohemia and Neo-Romanticism of the 1940s. He was a member of the London Group, formed by a band of radical artist to offer additional exhibiting opportunities to artists besides the Royal Academy of Arts.

Minton’s main artistic theme, partly homo-erotic, was the young male figure in emotionally charged settings. In this painting, Minton alters the traditional dynamic between the dominant artist and their passive model. The model was his friend, the actor Norman Bowler, best known for his role as Frank Tate in the TV series ‘Emmerdale’.

Minton was himself gay, at a time when homosexuality was illegal and was often attracted to unavailable men.  Outwardly a charming and charismatic figure, he struggled with self-doubt and self-destruction, and aged thirty-nine took his own life with a drug overdose.

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