Long overdue a defining publication about her, Pauline Boty: British Pop Art’s Sole Sister by Marc Kristal looks to be a must-buy.
I say long overdue because there has been one other book. Pauline Boty – The Only Blonde In The World has been around for a while but isn’t easy to come by and, as a result, tends to command a high price for something that’s essentially an exhibition tie-in.
And there’s another thing. Pauline Boty is getting a lot more attention now than she used to. A 1960s Mod and ‘it’ girl, she was also one of the leading lights of the British pop art scene. But a tragically early death and a lack of surviving pictures have curtailed that reputation a little over the years. But things are now looking up.
A new documentary, Boty: The Life and Times of a Forgotten Artist, is currently in production, which is likely to shine some light on the artist, with this 256-page hardback book from Frances Lincoln likely to offer even more insight.
As you may or may not know, Pauline Boty was a founding British Pop Art movement member, attending London’s Royal College of Art when its students included David Hockney, Peter Blake, R.B. Kitaj and Allen Jones. She would be a household name now, but for her death at the tragically young at the age of 28.
As well as her work as an artist, she appeared on the stage, on TV and in film (including alongside Michael Caine in Alfie) and was a regular contributor on BBC radio. David Bailey and other society photographers photographed her, and she became a key player in 1960s London’s golden age.
Having been largely forgotten after her death, her reputation has been growing steadily since the rediscovery and exhibition of her works in the early 1990s (the one connected to the book I mentioned earlier). As well as cropping up regularly in various books, documentaries and newspaper articles since then, she also features as a central character in Ali Smith’s novel Autumn (2016). One of her works sold for $1.4m at auction in June 2022, which says everything about her resurgence in the art world.
After seeing her work at an auction in 2013, author Marc Kristal has spent almost ten years researching her life, interviewing the people who knew her and delving into archives and libraries. The result is the ‘definitive biography of her life and work’, likely to appeal to both art lovers and fans/devotees of the era. Like me, for example. And possibly you.
It lands on 19th October 2023 and is available to pre-order now, priced at £20.45.