My new book ‘Queer St Ives and Other Stories’, was published by Ridinghouse in June 2022. It was supported by a major publication grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.
• A précis of the book from its back cover:
‘This first ever queer history of St Ives weaves together biography with art and social history to shine new light on a pivotal era in the development of British modernism. At its centre is the sculptor John Milne (1931–1978), who arrived in the town in 1952 to work as an assistant to Barbara Hepworth. Hidden behind 20-foot-high granite walls, Milne’s house, Trewyn, became a meeting point for queer figures from the arts as well as the scene of legendary parties. The large cast featured in Queer St Ives and Other Stories includes artists Francis Bacon, Marlow Moss, Mark Tobey and Keith Vaughan, Whitechapel Gallery director Bryan Robertson, potters Janet Leach and Byron Temple, and the extraordinary queer Everyman Julian Nixon.
Based on original interviews and previously unpublished letters and diaries, Queer St Ives and Other Stories is a vital new look at the history of this fabled Cornish art colony.’
• Extracts from reviews:
‘Ian Massey’s beguiling account… an absorbing and extremely well written book… it sheds new and welcome light both on Milne and the celebrated town in which he lived and worked.’
Peter Parker, The Spectator, 23 July 2022
‘… an extremely well researched book giving an entirely new perspective to the art history of St Ives as it is currently understood and presented… The book is full of detail and insightful understanding’.
John Charles Clark, The St Ives Times & Echo, 29 July 2022
‘Ian Massey’s new book offers a deep-dive into the lesser-known queer histories of the area, informed by years of research and armed with never-before-published letters, diaries and original interviews… a wonderful account of a powerful moment in Britain’s modern art history.’
Holly Black, Elephant Magazine, 29 July 2022