the sweeper


Charlotte says: “I hemmed and hawed a bit about taking a painting from this collection, because I have others. But I rationalised that there is no reason why I shouldn’t have one, and if other people already had other paintings it wouldn’t stop me from releasing one to them from this batch.

I am powerfully drawn to this image because, like many of my favourite paintings of Stewart’s, the colours are quite flat. He might be insulted by this but they remind me a bit of a paint by numbers painting! I love paint by numbers!

So there’s that. There’s also the story that James told me, which is that this man came to sweep Stewart’s chimney and he took a shine to him. It looks like paintings Stewart produced of other men he loved too.

Stewart was gay, for want of a better word, at a time when desire between men was criminalised. I imagine he broke the law and took tremendous risks that my peers and I could never really understand living, as we do, in times where it is no longer illegal to be queer. I admire that very much.

For me, this painting is saturated with queer desire, and class, and resistance to anybody who thinks they can dictate who and how someone should love.”

Here’s the painting on the shelf in my office:

the sweeper on a shelf

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