News about Grant-supported Projects

Publication: Queer St Ives and Other Stories

  • 8 July 2022

Queer St Ives and Other Stories by Ian Massey is the first ever queer history of St Ives which weaves together biography with art and social history to shine new light on a pivotal era in the development of British modernism. At its centre is the sculptor John Milne (1931–1978), who arrived in the town in 1952 to work as an assistant to Barbara Hepworth.

Hidden behind twenty-foot-high granite walls, Milne’s house, Trewyn, became a meeting point for queer figures from the arts as well as the scene of legendary parties. The large cast – both queer and otherwise – featured in Queer St Ives and Other Stories includes artists Francis Bacon, Alan Lowndes, Marlow Moss, Patrick Procktor, Mark Tobey, Keith Vaughan and Brian Wall; Whitechapel Art Gallery director Bryan Robertson; actors Keith Barron and Richard Wattis; potter Janet Leach; and writers Tony Warren and Richard Blake Brown. There is also the extraordinary Julian Nixon, a queer Everyman whose involvement in the group has been little explored until now.

Based on original interviews and previously unpublished letters and diaries, Queer St Ives and Other Stories reveals a fascinating, previously undocumented history, adding vital new insights into the history of this fabled Cornish art colony.

Queer St Ives and Other Stories has been supported by a Publication Grant.