In Depth

Queer British Art: In Celebration of LGBTQ at Tate Britain

Fifty years after the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England, this landmark exhibition showcases queer British art

Focusing on the period 1861-1967, the exhibition traces the diverse body of work that arose as societal attitudes towards those who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer changed over the century. Among the artists featured are Francis Bacon, Keith Vaughan, Evelyn De Morgan, Gluck and Cecil Beaton, while photographs, film, magazines and other ephemera give additional context to the era.

The display spans from the discreet hints of desire seen in the works of the Pre-Raphaelites to the more open attitudes of the 1960s. Highlights include a section on the influential Bloomsbury Group, who were known for their bohemian lifestyles and forward-thinking perspectives on feminism, sexuality and other issues (member Vanessa Bell is also the subject of a major exhibition this year), and, to coincide with Tate Britain's comprehensive David Hockney retrospective, the artist's important work Going to be a Queen for Tonight is on show.

Beyond the artworks on display, there's an important insight into a time when LGBTQ identities were little recognised or understood. They are explored through the legacy of some of the more progressive minds of their day, such as sexologist Henry Havelock Ellis and activist Edward Carpenter. The high-profile trials of figures such as Oscar Wilde and Radclyffe Hall are also documented, bringing together artefacts that include the door from Wilde's prison cell.

Queer British Art 1861-1967 is at Tate Britain until 1 October, tickets £16.50; tate.org.uk

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