Steven Campbell
The Dangerous Early and Late Life of Lytton Strachey 1985

Artwork details

Steven Campbell 1954–2007
The Dangerous Early and Late Life of Lytton Strachey
Date 1985
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2618 x 2745 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Patrons of New Art through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1986
Not on display

Display caption

This painting depicts Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), the biographer and essayist, who was a central figure in the Bloomsbury circle. It contains three portraits of Strachey at different ages, including a very young portrait as a cabbage. There are several references to Strachey's homosexuality (the 'pansy' patterned wallpaper), as well as clues to the subjects of his books. The arrow heads combined with a strand of his beard form two profiles against the target. One is of Queen Elizabeth I, the other Queen Victoria. The painting's title alludes to the situation Strachey would have found himself in had either book been published during the lifetime of the subject.

September 2004

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