WestEndExtra

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Quentin Crisp portrait reunited with its original owner after 23 years

Portrait thrown out in rubble comes home after chance conversation

22 June, 2018 — By Tom Foot

The portrait 

A PORTRAIT of the author, actor and raconteur Quentin Crisp has been reunited with its original owner after 23 years.

The thin paper chalk drawing, pictured left, had once been on the wall of a gay club in Kingston Upon Thames but after the owner died the venue closed.

It had been given to the club by a singer/songwriter, who lives in Maida Vale, after he picked it up at a car boot sale.

In a twist of fate, the portrait’s original owner was speaking to a café owner who said he was in the process of clearing out a warehouse and he had seen a similar painting of a “flamboyant character” lying in the rubble.

The owner, who did not want to

be named, said: “There was no doubt whatsoever. It was the original chalk drawing. The frameless picture was in an amazing condition and the pastel colours of the subject – remarkable! The picture is almost perfect. Like a Dorian Gray creation.”

Quentin Crisp was no stranger to controversy. His opinions on Aids and homosexuality divided the gay community he had set out to champion earlier in his life.

Having worked as a sex
worker on the streets of Soho and Pimlico in the 1930s, from an early age he wore bright make-up, had crimson hair and painted his finger and toenails. He was regularly beaten in the street for being different.

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