4: LGBT+ History Month: featured artworks from the City’s Collection

21 Feb 2021

Have you ever found an artwork you felt represented you? Maybe it resonated in some way, captured a feeling, and idea or a moment in time.

To mark LGBT+ History month, we’ve asked people from the LGBTQ+ community to select artworks from our collection which, for whatever reason, feel represent them.

Today, David Bailey has chosen Red Landscape by Graham Sutherland and John Piper’s Portland Foreshore.

“These two paintings work for me so powerfully together. The two artists hit my consciousness like a thunderbolt in 1962 when I persuaded my Dad to drive me to see the brand-new Coventry Cathedral – a work of modern architecture by Sir Basil Spence – which had just celebrated its consecration with the first performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. The two massive and rapidly famous artistic works integral to the cathedral building itself were the huge tapestry of Christ in Glory by Sutherland and the expansive stained glass baptistry window by Piper. What fantastically powerful and confident works those are! To me, a 17 year-old teenager, so hungry to discover and experience how the modern post-war world was able to excite and inspire me, this was like a banquet of the very best of contemporary arts. I was starting to look outwards seeking hope and inspiration both in art and in the exploration of my sexuality. These two pursuits led me both to follow my passion to become an architect and to self-identify in due course as an assured bisexual guy.”


Graham Sutherland, Red Landscape, 1942, oil on canvas © the estate of Graham Sutherland. Image © SCC Cultural Services


John Piper, Portland Foreshore, oil on canvas. © The Piper Estate / DACS 2020. Image © SCC Cultural Services

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