Historic Ace Spotted in the Wild

Dame Edith Sitwell 1916 by Alvaro Guevara 1894-1951
Dame Edith Sitwell 1916 Alvaro Guevara 1894-1951 Image source

I went to the Tate Britain in London during June last year to see a specific art exhibition: Queer British Art 1861-1967. This was a fantastic showcase, with lots of paintings and photographs and sculptures and amazing queer artists. The Bloomsbury Group featured (I knew them for Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West), and the above portrait was in the room dedicated to the group. This is Dame Edith Sitwell by Alvaro Guevara. Check out the accompanying plaque below.

ace lady.jpg

Text recreated here in case of reading difficulty: “The poet Edith Sitwell does not seem to have had sexual relationships, but was viciously satirised by the artist and writer Wyndham Lewis as a lesbian. Sitwell described the life of the artist as ‘very Pauline’, referring to the letters of St Paul, which may suggest she thought sex would be a distraction. She was close friends with Alvaro Guevara, the artist of this portrait, who had relationships with men and women. Diana Holman Hunt in her 1974 biography of Guevara suggested that Sitwell and Guevara shared a love that was ‘not physical but certainly romantic and spiritual.’ The bright colours reflect the designs of Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell’s Omega Workships and Sitwell is sitting on a dining chair designed by Fry.”

“does not seem to have had sexual relationships”

“she thought sex would be a distraction”

“shared a love that was ‘not physical, but certainly romantic and spiritual.'”

I mean.


1916, people.