Michael Bracewell: I’m here at Tate Britain standing in front of a painting that was made in 1963 by the artist Pauline Boty. It’s called The Only Blonde in the World. It’s a painting that I feel very, very strongly about, as much for the person who made it, as for the subject and the times in which it was made. The subject is Marilyn Monroe – although I kind of sometimes like to think that it could be Diana Dors. There’s no real way – I’m sure it is Marilyn Monroe, because all the Boty scholars and Pop Art historians say it’s Marilyn Monroe. And it’s interesting, because of course Marilyn famously died young, and Boty, too. And that’s why this painting in particular has a sort of resonance between artist and subject. Pauline Boty is of specific interest, I think, in the history of British Art, because whilst we all tend to know quite a lot about the Royal College of Art generation of Pop artists who emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s, that would include such figures as Derek Boshier and David Hockney, we don’t tend to think so much that there was also a very important woman Pop artist, and that was Pauline Boty. Pauline also was noted for being strikingly attractive. Photographs of her from that time certainly show a remarkable looking young woman, certainly not a retiring academic type, but more somebody who seemed to embody what was then the early days – if you could say the state of grace – of the Pop Age – the beginnings of popular culture and Pop music in Britain. As soon as she got to the Royal College, Pauline immersed herself in the whole life of being an art student – about having a good time – and you can see some of that on a wonderful film that was made by the director Ken Russell for BBC Television’s Monitor series. It’s a famous film called ‘Pop goes the Easel’ and it looked at four then young art students, one of whom was Peter Blake, now Sir Peter Blake – another of whom was Derek Boshier – third Peter Phillips, last Pauline Boty. What comes across in that film, as I think comes across in this particular painting, is that these were students for whom the whole world of cinema and Pop music, automobiles, popular culture, mass media, was as inspirational, as involving, and as total an experience, as maybe a hundred years earlier, the experience of nature had been for young artists at the end of the nineteenth century. It’s quite interesting, because in some ways Pauline Boty’s immediate peers at the Royal College of Art would very much have thought of her, sometimes, as being the ‘only blonde in the world’ – it’s said that virtually every man in the College was in love with her, and there was a wonderful little essay written once, which began ‘There are silver-haired men in Notting Hill Gate who still break down and weep when they think of Pauline Boty’ – and that was written in 1998. So clearly she left some effect. As it transpired, she painted. She also became an actor. She acted at the Royal Court Theatre in Chelsea. She also danced on the Pop music programme Ready, Steady, Go. But she became married to a young intellectual and publisher called Clive Goodwin, was deliriously happy – she was married after a ten day romance. When she went for her prenatal for – she was pregnant – tragically she was diagnosed with cancer, and she died at the age of 26, shortly after her daughter was born. I kind of think it’s interesting that she died just as the Sixties changed. In some ways I think why I like this is that it embodied everything that was fun and glamorous and, if you want, light, about early Pop. Mid-Sixties, Pop changes. It gets darker, it gets stranger, it becomes a contract with something very different, and Pauline died just as it changed. And I think in some ways, is one of the figures – not particularly well known – but who maybe summarises that first idyllic pre-lapsarian experience of Pop, Pop music, and Pop Art.